CAPSLO settles Torres-Hill lawsuit quietly
October 29, 2015
By CCN STAFF
Dee Torres-Hill and Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO) have agreed to a settlement in a lawsuit over alleged discrimination and retaliation.
On Oct. 20, the parties agreed to settle after a nearly seven hour mediation session, according to documents filed in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court on Oct. 26. CAPSLO Chief Operating Officer Jim Famalette is not disclosing details of the agreement, though he did say he is satisfied with the settlement.
“The Torres-Hill case has been settled to the mutual satisfaction of both parties,” Famalatte said.
In 2013, former and current CAPSLO employees and several of Torres’ ex-boyfriends said she routinely took gift cards intended for the needy and homeless and made personal use of them. CAPSLO administrators denied most of the allegations, but they admitted to questioning Torres-Hill about selling items donated to the homeless and not accounting for them.
In March 2014, CAPSLO demoted Torres-Hill and cut her pay. CAPSLO announced the move as a “restructuring” because of financial concerns.
Torres-Hill fired back against her former employer by filing the lawsuit that claimed she was the victim of retaliation. She was seeking punitive damages for wrongful termination, defamation, libel, and infliction of emotional distress.
In addition, Torres-Hill claimed CAPSLO discriminated against her based on a disability. After a doctor determined she was unable to continue working at CAPSLO, Torres-Hill went out on medical leave, according to court records.
While still an employee of CAPSLO, Torres-Hill started the SLO Housing Connection, a nonprofit that provides homeless services that appear to duplicate many CAPSLO services, including case management, shelter and employment services.
In fall 2014, while 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 the SLO Housing Connection.
Earlier this year, the entire SLO Housing Connection Board quit because Torres-Hill refused to take direction and was not following the non-profits mission statement, a former board member who has asked to remain unnamed said.
In May, Torres-Hill resigned from her position at CAPSLO. The lawsuit will not be officially dismissed until Dec. 11.
Like CCN on Facebook.