Dee Torres-Hill competes with CAPSLO while still on its payroll

March 26, 2015
Dee Torres-Hill speaking on behalf of CAPSLO.

Dee Torres-Hill speaking on behalf of CAPSLO.


Months before Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (CAPSLO) demoted Dee Torres-Hill from her position as its homeless services coordinator, she was soliciting donations for a new homeless services organization from wealthy developers who were dealing with her husband, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill.

Hill, in turn, lobbied on behalf of developers donating or pledging to support Torres-Hill’s fledgling nonprofit, called the SLO Housing Connection. The SLO Housing Connection provides homeless services that appear to duplicate many CAPSLO services, including case management, shelter and employment services.

Gary Grossman

Gary Grossman

In fall 2014, while Supervisor Hill aggressively attempted to persuade members of the San Luis Obispo City Council to vote in favor of a land use change needed by developer Gary Grossman to develop large parcels near the airport, Grossman made a $50,000 donation to Torres-Hill’s SLO Housing Connection, Grossman said in a letter sent by his attorney Marshall Ochylski . The council then voted 4-1 in favor of the airport land use change.

Torres-Hill is still employed by CAPSLO and is performing many of the same duties she had at CAPSLO for the SLO Housing Connection. She is on medical leave from CAPSLO. A doctor determined she was unable to continue working at CAPSLO, according to court records.

The lawsuit claims that CAPSLO retaliated against Torres-Hill because of her perceived disability.

Supervisor Adam Hill

Supervisor Adam Hill

In 2012, former and current CAPSLO employees and several of Torres’ ex-boyfriends said she routinely took gift cards intended for the needy and homeless for her own use. At the time, CAPSLO administrators denied most of the allegations, but admitted to questioning Torres-Hill about selling items donated to the homeless and not accounting for the revenue.

CAPSLO officials now have completed their investigation into the allegations, but will not comment on their findings because of the lawsuit.

On March 12, 2014, CAPSLO demoted Torres-Hill and cut her pay, in what was announced as a “restructuring” because of financial concerns. Torres-Hill then took a leave of absence. On June 2, 2014, Torres-Hill returned to CAPSLO, according to court records.

Former employees of CAPSLO say Torres-Hill had threatened several times over the past decade to start her own homeless nonprofit with the assistance of supervisor Hill, and to battle CAPSLO for revenue and county-approved grant monies.

On Oct. 2, 2013, the SLO Homeless Connection’s Facebook page was born.

The new nonprofit board includes President Mary Parker, Treasurer Antonette Higgins, and Torres-Hill’s 20-year-old daughter Sofi Torres. According to the SLO Homeless Connection website, Sofi Torres “has volunteered with the homeless for 15 years.”

And though the site does not identify any SLO Housing Connection staff, Torres-Hill appears to be the only one meeting with clients.

In early 2014, developer Grossman was asked to tour the Prado Day Center, he said in an email to CalCoastNews. Shortly thereafter, he started meeting with Torres-Hill and Parker to discuss donating to the SLO Housing Connection.

Neither Hill, Torres-Hill nor Parker returned detailed requests for comment.

On Oct. 28, claiming to be a whistleblower, Torres-Hill filed a lawsuit against CAPSLO that says her employer retaliated against her for expressing safety concerns. In addition, the lawsuit says that CAPSLO retaliated and discriminated against Torres-Hill based on her disability. The disability was not explained.

SLO Homeless Connection Treasurer Antonette Higgins has denied getting any donation from Grossman.

“We have had only one donation of $1,500, only one from a Christmas mailer,” Higgins said. “My sister-in-law is county counsel, so we know what we are doing.” (San Luis Obispo County Counsel Rita Neal said she is not related to Higgins.)

At present, Higgins said, no one affiliated with the SLO Homeless Connection is getting paid to work for the nonprofit. Higgins did not appear to be concerned about Torres-Hill’s work for the SLO Housing Connection while on medical leave from CAPSLO.

“What she does on her own time is her business,” Higgins said.

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  1. ironyman2000 says:

    The unmitigated gall of these two is surpassed only by the blind stupidity of those who
    support them.

    (36) 50 Total Votes - 43 up - 7 down
  2. shelworth says:

    It takes an especially sleazy person to use this particular issue and their own personal cash cow!

    (31) 49 Total Votes - 40 up - 9 down
    • shelworth says:


      (-2) 20 Total Votes - 9 up - 11 down
      • shelworth says:

        How do you get likes or dislikes for correcting a word? weird.

        (-6) 18 Total Votes - 6 up - 12 down
        • kayaknut says:

          Not really for some that troll around here, I just ignore most of them.

          (1) 15 Total Votes - 8 up - 7 down
  3. smile4thecamera says:

    Man, the stories about these two just get sleezier and sleezier. It’s been well documented that she stole from the poor in terms of taking gift cards etc. that were donated for the homeless folks, and used them herself or sold them. Gawd that just makes me sick. It really does. People, if you are in a position financially to donate a hefty sum of money to something worthwhile, really do your homework! I wouldn’t give Torres-Hill money for her parking meter. Her actions while at CAPSLO are truly despicable and sooner or later karma is going to catch up to her.

    (35) 53 Total Votes - 44 up - 9 down
  4. JB Bronson says:

    As much as Ms. Torres-Hill and Adam Hill make fools of themselves to everyone but themselves, let’s not lose sight of the fact that CAP-SLO, at a minimum, had its issues that created an environment for Ms. Torres-Hill to thrive and be herself.

    Once she got caught, CAP-SLO acted like their hands were clean and that they were different as an organization.

    Ms. Torres-Hill’s behavior was part of a culture at CAP-SLO.

    That culture ran deep as did the ability to play a shell game to cover their tracks. Who knows if things have changed there.

    (38) 60 Total Votes - 49 up - 11 down
    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      I suspect that, at worst, CAPSLO didn’t pay enough attention to Torres and her activities as the Director of Homeless Services. CAPSLO is primarily in the business of running HeadStart programs (80%-90% of their budget). Even then, some of the accusations made on this site about CAPSLO were incorrect or half-truths which ignored important other factors in what they did. The errors about which I know were significant enough that I have to question the accuracy of the reporting about things with which I am not familiar such as the alleged theft of gifts to the homeless.

      I have heard that the fallout from the accusations made here quickly resulted in a change in policy regarding the acceptance of gifts with monetary value. They are tracked now so that such accusations can be disproved if they recur. Of course the tracking process takes time and wages (a bureaucratic process) away from serving the homeless but that is an inevitable tradeoff in fighting any and all attempts to abuse a system. (Many laws have this same drawback.)

      (2) 14 Total Votes - 8 up - 6 down
      • IronHub says:

        OnTheOtherHand, you know of no errors in past reporting, or you would have said so earlier. You simply do not agree with allegations made by former and current employees. That is a problem with your interpretation of the articles, not with the factual nature of the reporting. You might remember, denials of what was reported were few and far between. And of course you saw no effort by other media to get to the bottom of the story. So take your anonymous criticism and stuff it.

        (0) 18 Total Votes - 9 up - 9 down
        • OnTheOtherHand says:

          I have said so repeatedly. Unfortunately, I don’t spend all my waking hours on this website so many of my comments come after most people have moved on the other topics. Try going back to the comments sections of the old articles about CAPSLO if you don’t believe me.

          (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
        • OnTheOtherHand says:

          Also, I don’t know the other employees who made allegations so I can’t evaluate their knowledge or integrity. I am not saying that Torres didn’t steal donated items from the homeless — I don’t know either way. I am saying that given CCNs errors and bias in other articles on CAPSLO, I don’t trust them to report accurately on this issue.

          You are right about no other media reporting on these claims but that could also be due to a decision by them that the facts did not support the allegations enough to justify a report. (I say this very reluctantly since I view the Tribune in particular as a propaganda tool for whomever is in power at the time.) As for the TV stations, they are all about quick, high-emotion news blurbs. They have no interest in in-depth reporting of any sort. It is the nature of the beast and reflected in most national TV news coverage as well.

          (-3) 7 Total Votes - 2 up - 5 down
  5. justbeware says:

    Dee Torres and Adam Hill are dirty.
    There is no way in he// this much information continues to surface (thanks to CCN digging) if there’s not a fire causing all this smoke.
    I hope CCN follows the trail of breadcrumbs – -it would be nice to learn how much dirt has rubbed off on those they ‘associate’ with, just how dirty are they? Are we to believe Dee and Adam are the only ones who stand to benefit from their for profit non-profit? How about Sofi?
    Most 20 year olds are looking for a way to make money, we’re supposed to believe this kid is going to be a professional volunteer? Mmmmmm, no.

    Grossman donates $50k and yet SLO Homeless Connection claims they’ve had $1500 in donations. Sounds like the bookkeeping already needs some looking into.
    Why does everything these two get involved in come into question???

    Unless you’re of like mind, or getting a piece of the action, who would want to be in any way connected with people like these who are constantly involved in dishonest, unethical activities?

    (35) 57 Total Votes - 46 up - 11 down
  6. agag1 says:

    Dear Voters of District 3,


    It is time to replace Mr. Hill, with someone of character.
    You have two choices (thus far) for the upcoming election.
    Either Debbie Peterson or Dan Carpenter would be head and shoulders above A Hill and those he surrounds himself with.

    (49) 67 Total Votes - 58 up - 9 down
    • marcusaurelius says:

      agreed. Carpenter and Peterson need to figure out who has the better chance to win and combine their power into one candidate because having two choices against one slimeball can only hurt the two other choices…

      (30) 48 Total Votes - 39 up - 9 down
      • hijinks says:

        Not so. One of them will get into a runoff, and will then cream Hill. Why would you want politicos making private deals with each other as to who gets to run? Let the people decide that.

        (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
  7. freshair says:

    Dee’s misdeeds at Prado were only brought to light by Cal Coast News’ exposure of Capslo’s corrupt Family Ties program:

    Her new program could just be another scam to house disabled people “temporarily” at Capslo’s shelter while charging them $600/month.

    There aren’t many affordable housing units just waiting to be moved in to, people. Perhaps Grossman would do us a favor and provide us with such. Now, that would be an accomplishment.

    (10) 34 Total Votes - 22 up - 12 down
    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      If you knew the whole truth about the story to which you linked, you would find that it is neither as simple nor a clear cut case of abuse as was presented in that article. I lost a LOT of respect and trust for CCN because of that article.

      (-17) 27 Total Votes - 5 up - 22 down
      • IronHub says:

        That was the first in a long series of articles on the situation, none of which were ever disputed by the subjects. CCN does not need your respect; give it to some lapdog media.

        (2) 14 Total Votes - 8 up - 6 down
        • OnTheOtherHand says:

          If CCN doesn’t need my respect, they don’t need my financial support either. They have done some very good and very important reporting. I am now in a financial position to make at least small donations to causes I support but CCN’s inability to publicly acknowledge mistakes has eliminated them from my list.

          As for the the claim that none of the articles were “disputed by the subjects,” they were. They just weren’t disputed here on CCN by anyone but a very few of us who know people affiliated with CAPSLO and know the other side of the story from that. Aside from the fact that many of the claims could not legally be disputed due to legal obligations of an employer-employee relationship, what reason would CAPSLO have for engaging in a conversation with an organization obviously out to get them and willing to use erroneous “facts”, half-truths and distortions to do so?

          (-1) 9 Total Votes - 4 up - 5 down
          • analyticone says:

            Hand, you are sounding frighteningly like Adam Hill.

            Remember his three visits to Grover Beach city council meetings?

            He distributed a spread sheet to staff and the Council and then waved it around while speaking in public comment, saying, “Here’s the list of the $38,000 I have given to your charitable causes and city events and I can continue to do so if you vote Debbie Peterson off the APCD.”

            One of these visits was the famous medallion distribution to staff and each council member.

            So, Hand. If CCN writes what you want CCN to write you won’t take away your financial support? Now there’s a definition of integrity in journalism.

            (-2) 4 Total Votes - 1 up - 3 down
  8. mkaney says:

    I think a lot of people have forgotten who the real enemy is. The real enemy is people who are taking home 6-digit incomes while trying to monopolize all of the funding and services. Dee may have supported these people at one time, but I think we should be more positive about this venture. For one, it provides some competition for services and funding. Secondly, her goals are in line with some of the strategies discussed by Dan Carpenter. As one of her biggest critics at one time, I think people should ease up on some of the petty personal attacks and discuss this in the context of how it deals with the problems. Let’s give her a fighting chance and see what she does independent from CAPSLO. If she mucks it up you can be sure I’ll be one of the first to jump all over it.

    (-37) 59 Total Votes - 11 up - 48 down
    • mkaney says:

      Also the issue of her doing this while “still employed” by CAPSLO is a little murky. Any ongoing employment with CAPSLO is likely related to legal requirements and issues related to her legal wrangles with them at this moment.

      (-7) 47 Total Votes - 20 up - 27 down
      • agag1 says:

        ‘a little murky’? Are you kidding?
        How about ‘stinks to high heaven’?

        (25) 41 Total Votes - 33 up - 8 down
      • kayaknut says:

        Only in the public sector would there be “legal requirements” to keeping employed someone who stole donations meant for the homeless and sold the homeless items meant as donations, in the private sector you would have just been fired.

        (20) 34 Total Votes - 27 up - 7 down
        • OnTheOtherHand says:

          That is the way it should be but it is more a problem of the legal system than the public sector. A large organization of any type is a target for lawsuits like this due to their financial resources. They have to play the game conservatively to avoid giving opposing lawyers any basis for a successful argument about any of a multitude of “retribution” claims.

          (10) 10 Total Votes - 10 up - 0 down
      • OnTheOtherHand says:

        She is effectively “out” at CAPSLO and has been ever since she made her claims. Her continued “employment” is likely entirely related to legal requirements. Anyone with experience in employment law — i.e. any employer who has had to deal with a claim of this type — would not have trouble reading between the lines on this.

        (9) 13 Total Votes - 11 up - 2 down
    • TacomaRose says:

      So mkaney … you have completely minimized and dismissed the allegations about her having pilfered while running the homeless shelter for CAPSLO? These allegations were contained in sworn declarations to the court by former CAPSLO employees and homeless clients.

      So now she is to be trusted with more public and private funding?

      Time to wake up

      (32) 50 Total Votes - 41 up - 9 down
    • SanSimeonSam says:

      Not sure i would consider stealing money from the homeless, selling donated diapers to homeless mothers and pocketing the revenue and using donated gift cards is “petty”. Not sure what your definition is Mkaney but there is an abundance of evidence that supports the claims. The fact that Dee is a filthy human being for her crimes against the homeless is not something to be swept under the table as she attempts to regain a foothold in this lucrative industry. Remember the CAPSLO budget is 60 million dollars a year. Most is unaccounted for because citizens like you are too naive to accept how sinister and criminal folks like Dee and Hill and our other elected officials can be. Just follow the money kiddo.

      (32) 48 Total Votes - 40 up - 8 down
      • OnTheOtherHand says:

        If the theft accusations against her are true (a possibility but not a certainty given biased reporting here on other CAPSLO issues), I would agree that she is not someone who I would support in any way.

        However, just the fact that you continue to use the $60M/yr CAPSLO budget line proves how biased the initial CCN articles on them were and should create some suspicion of the accuracy of other reports they made about CAPSLO. Their budget was indeed over $60 million per year but it is almost all funding specified for other programs — mostly HeadStart. The Homeless Shelter, Day Center and other homeless assistance programs they run had a budget of about $2.5M at the time (if memory serves me correctly.)
        I can guarantee that the Feds and State Gov’t carefully track how the other funds are spent and most of the homeless program budget was accounted for as well.

        (-4) 14 Total Votes - 5 up - 9 down
    • isoslo says:


      Good theory but Dee is the wrong person. The other problem you failed to mention are the ethics and morals of the people running these organizations. We have to start recognizing that integrity counts and people who lack it should stick to internet marketing scams and we the voters need to get them away from public service.

      (25) 33 Total Votes - 29 up - 4 down
    • agag1 says:

      Ever heard “a leopard does not change its spots”, or “like the fox guarding the hen house”?
      Do you need to touch the fire for yourself to accept that it’s a bad idea to stick your hand in?

      Wake up friend, would you hire someone like Dee for a position which allowed her to have access to your money?
      She’s not a reformed scammer, she’s just getting going! This new scheme is just a way to have more control, and not subject herself to the scrutiny and oversight she’d have were she to be employed by anyone else.
      How sad that she’s decided to get her children involved in her unethical antics.
      Torres and Hill are not to be trusted.

      (26) 38 Total Votes - 32 up - 6 down
      • marcusaurelius says:

        ditto that. throw out a bunch of feel good stories about how you help the homeless when all you are really doing is helping yourself…..

        (18) 26 Total Votes - 22 up - 4 down
  9. isoslo says:

    I certainly hope the voters wake up and realize that these two leeches do not belong in any organization in SLO county. There are both immoral, unethical and self-serving.

    (45) 61 Total Votes - 53 up - 8 down
    • kayaknut says:

      One would think the SLO Housing Connection’s money stream would dry up when Mr. Hill is voted out and no longer able to vote in support of the Gary Grossman’s in the area. At that time the SLO Housing Connection would likely be no more.

      (29) 39 Total Votes - 34 up - 5 down
      • OnTheOtherHand says:

        Unfortunately, Mr. Hill’s term in office extends for another 20 months. Even then, there is no guarantee that he will be voted out. I am very concerned that having both Debbie Peterson and Dan Carpenter oppose him will split the vote of those who actually know how bad he is and allow him to get re-elected. I would like to see both Debbie and Dan on the BOS but that won’t happen unless one of them moves to a different district. (Dan, have you thought about moving into District 2? I believe that extends into the City of SLO so you could stay local.)

        (-2) 8 Total Votes - 3 up - 5 down
        • Dan Carp says:

          I appreciate your confidence in my presence on the BOS, however it’s not possible for me to move into any other district. My long time family home and multi-generational roots are in District 3. We have a long way to go in the campaign and I’m confident either Debbie, myself , or someone not yet in the race will rise to the top as the most formidable challenger to Mr. Hill.

          (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
          • justbeware says:

            Thank you Dan, for your willingness to offer the voters an alternative to Mr Hill.
            We wish you luck!

            (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down