Is Dee Torres-Hill a whistleblower?

October 30, 2014
Dee Torres

Dee Torres

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

Claiming to be a whistleblower, the embattled former head of the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo’s homeless services program has sued the nonprofit, alleging CAPSLO retaliated against her for expressing safety concerns.

Earlier this year, CAPSLO demoted Torres-Hill, cut her pay and placed her on leave, prior to her leaving the nonprofit. Torres-Hill, who recently married County Supervisor Adam Hill, faced allegations of theft from numerous former employees of CAPSLO, who claimed she made personal use of gift cards and other items donated to the homeless.

She also allegedly sold items donated to the homeless without accounting for the revenue she collected, according to tax records.

In March, CAPSLO demoted Torres-Hill. She then took several months of leave, went back to work at CAPSLO for a short time before starting a nonprofit organization that claims to help homeless individuals find housing.

Shortly after CAPSLO demoted Torres-Hill, Hill engaged in a war of words with the agency.

The county supervisor sent his legislative aide to a homeless services meeting held at CAPSLO’s office. At the meeting, Hill’s aide read a prepared speech attacking CAPSLO executives by name, calling them “obnoxious and counterproductive” and warning that their egos would cause problems in the community.

CAPSLO responded with a letter to Board of Supervisors Chairman Bruce Gibson, saying that Hill was running a misinformation campaign in the community.

On Tuesday, Torres-Hill fired back against her former employer by filing a lawsuit in San Luis Obispo Superior Court alleging she is the victim of retaliation. She is seeking punitive damages for wrongful termination, defamation, libel, and infliction of emotional distress.

Torres-Hill alleges that her relationship with CAPSLO executives turned sour when she reported concerns about the safety and security of the Maxine Lewis homeless shelter and the Prado Day Center.

Supervisor Adam Hill

Supervisor Adam Hill

After she expressed the concerns during a meeting, CAPSLO demoted her, the lawsuit claims.

Previously, Torres-Hill has filed several lawsuits, the most recent one being last year against Mike

Brennler. Brennler, a private investigator, had assisted CalCoastNews in an investigation into Torres and CAPSLO.

A San Luis Obispo judge threw the lawsuit out of court, stating that it fit the criteria of a SLAPP lawsuit — one filed with the intent of infringing upon First Amendment rights or stifling public criticism.


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slowtime

These two idiots just wont go away!


Perspicacious

She is just someone who, like her husband, is a leach on the public dole and when she saw her gravy train slipping away she freaked out.


TaxMeAgain

It’s hard for me to see her as truly caring about the homeless community if she wants to sue the homeless non-profit and take funds AWAY from the stated goals of the homeless organization and put those funds INTO her pocket.


BeenThereDoneThat

With the pics of each of them, I thought it was an advertisement for the new sequel to Dumb and Dumber?


wineguyjc

The Queen of misconduct a whistleblower! Hmmm, so that is Adam’s little friend’s nic-name, cute.


r0y

I would just summarize both Dee and Adam as: they just blow.


…I wish they’d blow on out of here…


Citizen

I think the real question is whether Dee torres can make her case, and after the major screw up by Biz Steinberg who tried to resolve the problems by hook and by crook, it’s possible.


We never heard Biz Steinberg show one ounce of concern over the homeless people served by CAPSLO. Instead, she simply tried to cover her incompetency in managing the system.


Wouldn'[t it be refreshing to hear a manager say something like “We will investigate the allegations and will do the right thing to help the people in our care. They are our main concern.”


Biz Steinberg needs to resign. She is incompetent as shown by the method she used to get Dee Torres to quit, and by her lack of oversight to CAPSLO managers and personnel in the first place. She’s a glad hander who can’t accept responsibilty, and tries to hide behind her bureaucracy.


OnTheOtherHand

I have heard that Biz Steinberg’s care about the homeless is a primary reason that CAPSLO still has programs for them. There are some at CAPSLO that feel the programs aren’t worth the hassle. They form less than 5% of CAPSLO’s budget/mission yet get 95% of the negative publicity and getting the funds to run those programs on just a basic level is a constant battle.


You may not have heard her express any concern about the homeless because you only find comments about it here. Given the biased and (at least partially) inaccurate information that CCN has put out about CAPSLO’s Homeless program you can hardly expect her or any other CAPSLO management to be talking to CCN at all.


MaryMalone

Steinberg covered up for Torres for YEARS, and allowed Torres to run roughshod over CAPSLO’s homeless clients.


I agree that Steinberg isn’t the whole problem, but she had the power to stop Torres’ harmful actions towards CAPSLO’s homeless clients, and she didn’t.


The fact that Steinberg allowed the wholesale rip off of CAPSLO’s homeless clients, taking much of the program’s clients’ funds in return for the clients’ access to the program, says it all about Steinberg’s care for the homeless.


MaryMalone

I agree. There is an old Italian saying, “The fish rots from the head first,” and I think it certainly applies to CAPSLO.


agag1

Mary, do you think our Italian Mayor is familiar with this saying?


MaryMalone

He may recognize that saying, but I very much believe, because of possible narcissistic tendencies, he would never apply it to himself.


ironyman2000

The answer to the question: No. Torres is not now, never was and never will be a

whistleblower. She may blow but not a whistler kinda deal.


OnTheOtherHand

I don’t know the personal dealings between CAPSLO and Torres that resulted in this suit. However, I will bet good money that her “concern” about safety issues at the shelter had nothing to do with any action CAPSLO took in regard to her. If she expressed such concerns at all, the timing was coincidence at best and may have been a planned setup so that she could make such a claim.


MaryMalone

QUOTING THE ARTICLE: ” In March, CAPSLO demoted Torres-Hill. She then took several months of leave, went back to work at CAPSLO for a short time before starting a nonprofit organization that claims to help homeless individuals find housing.”


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Dee Torres runing a nonprofit for homeless people is like putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank.


toryrand

Mary, I am sure Dee’s non profit would make Non Profit Watchdog org’s top ten administrative overhead list.