Public officials tied to cyber harassment of CCN

September 29, 2016
Aaron Ochs

Aaron Ochs

Update: Maria Kelly said Aaron Och’s allegation that she helped launch Cal Coast Fraud is false.

By CCN STAFF

Testimony in a libel suit has revealed that government officials or their significant others have shared information and participated in the online harassment of CalCoastNews reporters, their family members, friends, colleagues and acquaintances.

Aaron Ochs, the operator of Cal Coast Fraud, testified in a deposition that he regularly converses with San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill about CCN through Facebook messaging. In addition, Ochs said Oceano Community Services District Director Matt Guerrero, former Los Osos CSD Director Maria Kelly and Lynette Tornatsky, the wife of Los Osos CSD Director Lou Tornatsky, have provided content for the Facebook page which was created in an effort to get CCN to discontinue its reporting.

Since its launch in early 2014, posters on Cal Coast Fraud have falsely referred to CCN staff and reporters as having been diagnosed with mental illness. Other posts have falsely claimed that CCN staff are felons. CCN staff have been called c***s and whores. And, at times, participants in Cal Coast Fraud have discussed physically harming reporters.

On Tuesday, Ochs admitted under oath that his claims that CCN staff have been diagnosed with mental illness were not true or simply conjecture on his part. He also testified that his claims that CCN staff are felons were not true. His fraud claims were conjecture on his part.

Ochs was asked for evidence he had that showed CCN reporters had been diagnosed with mental illnesses. Ochs said he had no documentation. But, Ochs noted, Supervisor Hill had referred to a CCN reporter as crazy.

Ochs said he is aware that CCN reporters are not felons.

Ochs has repeatedly claimed that CCN is being investigated for fraud. Ochs said the fraud investigation was one that he himself had mounted. He was investigating emotional fraud, Ochs said.

Ochs complained about stories regarding “children.” In 2011, then Los Osos CSD Director Maria Kelly’s boyfriend’s son was arrested for felony DUI. Information from court records following the DUI exposed a possible conflict of interest for Kelly. Kelly’s board had negotiating with her boyfriend Paavo Ogren who then worked for the county.

Maria Kelly

Maria Kelly

Ochs said Kelly helped launch Cal Coast Fraud after stepping down from the Los Osos CSD Board.

Maria Kelly said Och’s allegation that she helped launch Cal Coast Fraud is false. However, when asked if she provided any of the content, Kelly refused to answer.

Within hours of the launch of Cal Coast Fraud, Hill was asking people to participate on the page that included posts claiming CCN reporters needed to lose court cases in order to protect the county from the stories CCN produces.

Cal Coast Fraud regularly produces rhetoric supporting a lawsuit filed by Charles Tenborg filed against CCN. In text messages, Supervisor Hill has told CCN advertisers he is working with Tenborg to destroy CCN through the lawsuit.

While Ochs and Hill have repeatedly made claims that support Tenborg’s case while claiming reporters lied, they have harassed CCN advertisers in what appears to be an attempt to put CCN out of business and keep it from being able to fund a proper legal defense.

Because of this, CalCoastNews is seeking to raise money to pay for deposition expenses through the fundraising site GoFundMe. Hill is scheduled for a deposition next month.

Ochs testified that Tenborg has asked him if he wanted to join in funding the lawsuit against CCN.

In an attempt to expose the ongoing defamation campaign, in early 2015, CCN published “Is Morro Bay parks official a government troll?”

“Ochs, through Facebook and several websites, has made numerous false claims alleging specific people are felons, or diagnosed mentally ill,” the Feb. 23, 2015 article says.

An attorney firm shared by both Ochs and Tenborg, Kerr & Wagstaffe out of San Francisco, responded with the threat of another costly lawsuit if the story was not retracted. In the letter, the attorney claims Ochs had not written that reporters were felons or diagnosed mentally ill.

“The article further accuses Mr. Ochs of making numerous false claims that people are felons or diagnosed mentally ill,” according to the March, 12, 2015 letter from James Wagstaffe. “That is not true and it is particularly defamatory because Mr. Ochs has publicly, and repeatedly, discouraged any discrimination on the basis of mental state.”

It is unclear what Wagstaffe meant by discouraged or if they were aware their threat was unfounded. Several months earlier, Ochs wrote, “For anyone who is wondering, we have decided not to publish any personal information about Velie, including her diagnosed mental condition.”

Earlier this year, Ochs posted questions to be asked in admissions and depositions and the timing of the depositions before Tenborg’s attorneys had sent the material to CCN reporters and their attorneys.

Oceano Board Member Matt Guerrero

Oceano Board Member Matt Guerrero

CCN’s attorneys asked who gave Ochs the deposition and admissions information. But, Ochs claimed he was protected by journalism shield laws, even though he admitted he was not a journalist. Ochs then refused to disclose his source.

Attorneys for CCN told Ochs if he did not identify the source, they would ask a judge to compel him. Ochs then said, “Matt Guerrero.” Ochs went on to say that as an attorney Guerrero was able to get the information out of court records.

However, information about admissions and depositions is not part of the court record and could not be found in court files.

Guerrero, a candidate for a San Luis Obispo County Superior Court judgeship, said later that he had not provided Ochs any information about the Tenborg case.

Guerrero also has participated in the online harassment of CCN.

Shortly after the Cal Coast Fraud Facebook page was created, Guerrero was one of the first people to “like” the page. For months, he participated by giving “thumbs up” to degrading and defamatory posts on Cal Coast Fraud.

CCN reported several times on financial irregularities involving Oceano CSD district managers who Guerrero voted to hire. In all, three managers have been terminated for overpaying themselves with district funds.

Before filing the lawsuit against CCN, Tenborg said he discussed his plan with both supervisors Hill and Bruce Gibson.

Tenborg was questioned about his communication with Hill. Asked when he last spoke to Hill, Tenborg said it had been about a year and a half ago, but then disclosed they had last exchanged emails just several days earlier.

Even so, Tenborg said he had not shared inside information about the timing for depositions or the questions to be asked with anyone.

Following is an Aaron Ochs Facebook post with two loyal followers, including Lee Collins, the director of San Luis Obispo County’s Department of Social Services.

ochs-post-2

Cyber bullying of female journalists has increased along with participation in Twitter, Facebook and Topix. Of female journalists polled, almost two-thirds have experienced intimidation, threats or abuse in relation to their work, according to the International Women’s Media Foundation and the International News Safety Institute, December 2013.


Loading...
truth set me free

Need to vote out Adam Hill. Send some dollars to Dan Carpenter!

http://www.dancarpentersupervisor.com He needs $$ to reach out to the low information voters who are not aware of the above! Let’s help Dan cross the finish line on November 8th!


SLOBodan

It appears to me that Matt Guerrero lacks maturity and professionalism to be a Superior Court Judge.


surferdude

What a fool to get involved in these rodents.


racket

But if he’s granted a judgeship, he be in a great postion to protect his apparent buddy, Wagstaffe.


Skip Tracer

Kenny McCarthy wouldn’t your mother be so proud of you. The mentality of Team Adam Hill is very ill.


SLOBodan

I guess he is afraid that his mother might see it. He has taken his post off of the CCF site!


Julie

Who is not surprised?


Josey Wales

Folks,


Let’s all support CCN’s against these obviously degenerate people.


We must not allow our political bodies to be controlled by those who put their personal agendas over the public good.


DO NOT allow Caren Ray to represent Central Coaster’s.


Just saying,


Josey


JB Bronson

Fascinating read including Lee Collins pathetic expressions of bravado towards the end.


Lee, if you knew how the people who work at Social Services loathe you…


You have created an impotent agency that sucks tax money like a wildfire consumes dry fuel. Results are the same. Ash. T


Only you are so impressed with your self. The rest of us can’t wait for you to go away.


San Louie

CCN needs to engage a sharp pencil to find a trail of $$$ between Ochs and Adam Hill. This crap is way beyond what’s acceptable.


L.A.RamsFan

Man! You just don’t know hard hard this is for me….


San; you are so right that any other comment pails in comparison! Uhhhh, yea! Even mine… Jeeeez! That hurt….


And if I might add? This trail should be so brightly lit with evidence considering the obvious attitude of superiority and invunarability these folks rolled with, that with a little attention and effort all the dots will connect.


Now excuse me, I gotta take my Prilosec and chase it with some green buddy stuff…. Oh, the pain of trying to find some humility…


ironyman2000

ah yes, pails and pails……veritable buckets of comparison.


L.A.RamsFan

Ahhhh… Another dose of humility. Thank you so much!


“Honey! Bring back the pipe, please! Yea I know! But this pain PALES in comparison to the first one… Believe you me!”


TKG

Man! You just don’t know how hard this is for me. As a life long 49er fan, I have hated the Rams for decades, but I love what you wrote.


As Deep Throat said during Watergate, “Follow the money”! Should CCN look into whether the County individual expense accounts of Supervisors Hill and Gibson or their campaign funds have been used to provide seed money to feed these attempts to quiet an effective community voice? Can anyone say the word “audit”?


CCN has proven to be the best investigative reporting voice on the Central Coast. Keep it up!


L.A.RamsFan

Oh shit! I’ve crossed “THE” line! How am I gonna face any of my fellow Rams Fans now? Please don’t tell me this is some sort of kumbaya moment! Having a 49ers fan talk civilly to me is hard enough to wrap my RAMS HELMET encased head around without adding some funky arm and hand waving spritual thing to it! Okay?


God, now I’ve gotta wrap myself up in my RAMS throw blanket, put my RAMS beanie on, stick my RAMS binky in my mouth and stick the 2000 Super Bowl in the player and try and forget all about this moment…


“No Honey! The BIGGER pipe, PLEASE! And MORE buds! A lot more! No Honey, you’re not my personal servant, Of course not; I’m just busy tryin’ to find that bottle of Jack I set aside for emergency purposes. What Emergency? You don’t want to know….”


L.A.RamsFan

Just like a 49er I dropped the ball…. Thanks, I appreciate the love!


L.A.RamsFan

Jealousy, either professional or personal, has no place in journalism, even in the low life version CCF practises. But combining that with outright lies meant to slander and harm others, especially fellow journalists, is beyond contemptible.


CCN represents what journalism should be! I hope and pray CCN never backs down and accepts the current form that prefers sensationalism, market share and advertising over small things like accuracy, credability, fact checking or validating sources. The “4th Estate”, for the most part, is now the pervibial mushroom… “Kept In The Dark And Fed With Bull Shit” And they seem to be thriving rather well in that environment for, well, a mushroom!


I love you guys! Karen and Josh! You keep up the good work and the rest of this mushroom shit will soon have to come to you for direction to get out of that shitty, damp dark place they now ferment in. Charge ’em tons when they do!!!!!


And by-the-way Mr. Ochs; these folks are my personal friends and everything you have implied or ouright said is a f***ing lie! And for my sake I hope I never, ever….. See you on Fox News! I’m pretty sure they have you on spead dial right now! I’m just sayin’…


1 2 3 5