Wednesday, July 25, 2012

SLO County Sheriff's Department: Fake "Los Osos Community Pool Association" a "Civil Matter"

"Your donation, as well as the donations of many others, has not yet been spent but will be used to build the community pool in Los Osos."
-- Pandora Nash-Karner, "President," "Los Osos Community Pool Association," August 31, 2001

"Results of search for 'LOS OSOS COMMUNITY POOL ASSOCIATION' returned no entity records. Record not found."
-- The California Secretary of State's web site, after conducting a business search on "Los Osos Community Pool Association"

Hey, Los Osos? How's that "community pool" treating you this summer? Must be nice, huh?

Wait. What's that? There is no "Community Pool" in Los Osos?

I don't understand. How can that be? After all, from the early 1990s through the early 2000s, "more than $150,000 in donations" was collected by something called the "Los Osos Community Pool Association" (even though the Secretary of State has "no record" of that "non-profit" "organization" ever existing).

And, in 2001, according to "Los Osos Community Pool Association," "President," Pandora Nash-Karner , those funds were going to "be used to build the community pool in Los Osos."

So, where's the "Los Osos Community Pool" in 2012?

Ah, I think I found it.

According to the Morro Bay Community Pool Foundation web site:

"The Los Osos Community Pool Association commissioned an Aquatics Needs Assessment Survey which was completed on May 29, 2010. They ("The Los Osos Community Pool Association") wanted to know if the community wanted a pool to be built in Los Osos or Morro Bay. As it turns out the results of the Study showed that the majority of respondents wanted the community pool to be built in Morro Bay."

So, there's your "community pool," Los Osos, that Los Osos residents donated "more than $150,000" to build. It's now planned for Morro Bay.

That's right, a decade after "Los Osos Community Pool Association," "President," Nash-Karner, told a donor that his "generous gift" "will be used to build the community pool in Los Osos," the "Los Osos Community Pool Association" (which, apparently, isn't even real), "commissions" a study, in 2010, that concludes, "As it turns out the results of the Study showed that the majority of respondents wanted the community pool to be built in Morro Bay."

And that's that.

So, now, in 2012, after collecting "more than $150,000 in donations" that were to "be used to build the community pool in Los Osos," there's no community pool in Los Osos, there's no longer a "Los Osos Community Pool Association" (which, by all indications, never legally existed in the first place), and even worse, all of those donations, apparently, are all but gone.

According to Barry VanderKelen, executive director at the SLO County Community Foundation, "The Los Osos Community Pool Endowment Fund," listed on the SLO County Community Foundation's web site, has "between $10,000 - $15,000 in it."

And, when I recently emailed Nash-Karner, asking her, "What happened to all of the Los Osos pool donations, are they in another account?," she never replied.

And that situation -- that, in 2012, there's no longer a "Los Osos Community Pool Association," and no Los Osos Community Pool, and no more plans on the table to even build one, and the money's, apparently, all but gone -- understandably, has some of those people that donated for a "Los Osos community pool" claiming "fraud," and, these days, they want their money back.

Take, Los Osos resident, Cinthea Coleman, for example.

According to Coleman, in 1993 (1993!), her father, Robert Stark, donated $12,000 to something called "The South Bay Community Pool Association," which, according to official records, actually DID exist, before it was "suspended" by the State of California -- "All of South Bay Community Pool Association's powers, rights and privileges in the State of California have been suspended" -- where, SBCPA "President, Pandora Nash-Karner," then, simply changed the name to "Los Osos Community Pool Association," and stayed in business.

And today, considering there's no pool in Los Osos, and no longer even any plans to build one, Coleman, understandably, wants her father's "generous gift" back.

In a recent email to SewerWatch, Coleman writes:

"Yes, I believe she ("Los Osos Community Pool Association," "President," Pandora Nash-Karner) is perpetrating Fraud on multiple levels and needs to return my Father's $12,000.00 donation to a FEDERALLY-tax exempt organization. I have Power of Attorney for this matter and the money can go to me, personally, or my non profit."

So, after SLO County Sheriff, Ian Parkinson, recently wrote to me in an email, "If you have a victim (of the "Los Osos Community Pool Association") then they can be referred to us and we would investigate," I referred Coleman to the SLO County Sheriff's department.

However, after filing a complaint with the SLO County Sheriff department earlier this month, where Coleman supplied the department with the details of her case, including a copy of the above-referenced, August 2001, letter from Nash-Karner, that was written on "Los Osos Community Pool Association" letterhead, when there is "no record" that the "Los Osos Community Pool Association" ever legally existed, and where Nash-Karner writes, "Your donation, as well as the donations of many others, has not yet been spent but will be used to build the community pool in Los Osos," and, "we are currently proceeding with plans to build the pool in Los Osos," and, "Your generous gift... is now irrevocable," AND, where I also supplied the SLO County Sheriff department with primary source information on:

-- How "The Los Osos Community Pool Endowment Fund," listed on the SLO County Community Foundation's web site, has between "$10,000 - $15,000" in it

and;

-- How "more than $150,000" in donations was collected for a "Los Osos community pool"

and;

-- How "All of South Bay Community Pool Association's powers, rights and privileges in the State of California have been suspended"

and;

-- How the "Los Osos Community Pool Association" has "no record" on the Secretary of State's web site

and;

-- How, 17 years after the now-"suspended" South Bay Community Pool Association was formed in 1993, something called the "Los Osos Community Pool Association" commissioned a study, in 2010, that concluded, "As it turns out... the majority of respondents wanted the community pool to be built in Morro Bay"

and;

-- How today, there's no Los Osos pool, no longer a "Los Osos Community Pool Association" (which never legally existed in the first place) no longer any plans to build a pool in Los Osos, and that the "The Los Osos Community Pool Endowment Fund" has less than $15,000 in it, after "more than $150,000" was donated to build a pool in Los Osos

and;

-- How Sheriff Parkinson, wrote, "If you have a victim then they can be referred to us and we would investigate," and then I referred to his department a "victim"

... the SLO County Sheriff Department, after receiving all of that information, recently told SewerWatch that they will not be investigating the fake Los Osos Community Pool Association, or Coleman's claim of "fraud."

"I believe this a civil matter, and not a criminal matter," Jason Nefores, Commander of the North Coast Sheriff station in Los Osos, told SewerWatch in a recent phone interview.

I then asked Nefores if his office phoned the Secretary of State's office to inquire why "all of South Bay Community Pool Association's powers, rights and privileges in the State of California have been suspended?"

He said, "no."

When asked if his department would investigate a case where someone was going door-to-door in Los Osos, and asking for donations for a "non-profit" organization that didn't legally exist, Commander Nefores said, "Yes, but that's apples to oranges."

I then asked him if his department went to the Secretary of State's web site, and conducted a search for the "Los Osos Community Pool Association," and he said, "To what end?"

I said, "Well, it'll show you 'no record' that the 'Los Osos Community Pool Association' ever legally existed, and, therefore, my hypothetical ('door-to-door/fake non-profit' scam), and the Los Osos Community Pool Association, is actually closer to apples to apples."

He reiterated, "I see this as a civil matter."

To complicate matters, Nash-Karner is also a current SLO County Parks Commissioner, appointed by County Supervisor, Bruce Gibson, where her official County position also makes her a client of chief County Counsel, Warren Jensen, who is also chief Counsel for the SLO County Sheriff's department.

"They (Warren Jensen's County Counsel office) do serve as counsel for the Sheriff's Office," Parkinson wrote to SewerWatch.

On her 2007 application for her Parks Commission position, Commissioner Nash-Karner writes:

"Re-established the South Bay Swimming Pool Association non-profit corporation to build a community pool"

and;

"Successfully lobbied MCI for a $50,000 grant for the South Bay Swimming Pool Association"

and (and this is verbatim);

"South Bay Community Pool Association (AKA Los Osos Pool Assoc), President, 1999 - "

In the official Minutes of the SLO County Parks Commission meeting on, February 24, 2011, it reads:

"Commissioner Nash-Karner spoke on efforts by the Coastal Estero Bay Area Aquatic and Recreation Center (formerly Los Osos Pool)... "

So, try to follow this: According to SLO County Parks Commissioner, Nash-Karner, "The Coastal Estero Bay Area Aquatic and Recreation Center," was formerly, "The Los Osos Community Pool Association," which wasn't even real, but where Nash-Karner described herself as "President," which was formerly, "The South Bay Community Pool Association," where Nash-Karner is also listed as "President," which was real, before it was "suspended" by the State of California in the early 2000s, for reasons the Secretary of State's office would not provide to this reporter.

And, of course, if you Google:

"Coastal Estero Bay Area Aquatic and Recreation Center"

... you get nothing, other than the Minutes I link to above.

Nash-Karner is also a marketing professional, where she practices, what she refers to as, "behavior-based marketing."

According to her business web site:

"We provide expertise in... public information programs. We use a wide range of tools, including advertising campaigns, newsletters, annual reports, meetings, focus groups, special events, direct mailings, and the media. Through the power of behavior-based marketing strategies, award-winning graphic design, compelling language, and sometimes a touch of the outrageous, we create communication that is out of the ordinary, attention-grabbing, and highly effective."

Past SewerWatch investigations have shown that Nash-Karner, in 2004/05, also formed her own Political Action Committee -- "Save the Dream, Pandora Nash-Karner, Chair" -- where she collected over $100,000 in donations, and then used some of those donations to hire and pay her own marketing business, Pandora & Co.

That story is at this link:

http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2010/11/plugged-holes-lead-to-closed-loops.html

Additionally, Nash-Karner, and her husband, Gary Karner, starting in 1997, developed, in their living room, an "alternative" sewer project to the county's then-"ready to go" sewer project for Los Osos.

Throughout 1998, she would heavily market her "project" in Los Osos as "better, cheaper, faster" than the County's then-"ready to go" project, despite the fact that the Karners would later confess to knowing that their "project" was "blown out of the water" in early 1998, and was never going to work.

Nash-Karner's "behavior-based marketing strategy" worked on Los Osos voters, and her known-to her-to-be-DOA non-project was the "basis" for forming the Los Osos Community Services District in November 1998, and electing Nash-Karner as one of the initial Directors, where she, and her fellow Board members, immediately voted to kill the county's "ready to go" sewer project, and begin pursuit of her known-to-be-DOA, "better, cheaper, faster", non-project.

Almost immediately after that decision, official LOCSD documents associated with the Karners' non-project began to contain the business name, SWA Group, where, according to his bio, Gary Karner "was in private practice with The SWA Group, Planners and Landscape Architects, with an international practice and eight offices nationally, as a Managing Principal and Senior Project Manager of the firm. He specialized in project management and risk management with SWA for 27 years and is currently retained by SWA to consult on risk management."

Two years later, in 2000, the Karners' "better, cheaper, faster" non-project failed, as predicted, and directly led to the next 12-years-and-counting of sewer delay in Los Osos, and wasted untold millions of the State of California's money, and resources.

That story is outlined at this link:

http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2009/07/exclusive-sewerwatch-investigation-how.html

Although the SLO County Sheriff's Department views Commissioner Nash-Karner's fake "Los Osos Community Pool Association" as a "civil matter," Commander Nefores told SewerWatch that his office did refer the "matter" to the SLO County District Attorney's office, Economic Crime Unit, where, according to its web site, "Complaints are forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement or regulatory agency that has jurisdiction."

The "appropriate law enforcement or regulatory agency that has jurisdiction" in Coleman's case, is the SLO County Sheriff Department.

Phone calls to the SLO County District Attorney's office were not returned as of press time.

###

17 Comments:

  • "Phone calls to the SLO County District Attorney's office were not returned as of press time." Ron

    OK Ron, it is past press time, (press time: in blogspot-world means pressing a button to upload an article which you can go back and edit at any time). Has the Sheriff gotten back to you yet?

    Does anyone ever "get back to you?" Do you have any clue as to why they don't?

    By Blogger Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky, at 11:02 PM, July 28, 2012  

  • 'tooncie writes:

    "Has the Sheriff gotten back to you yet?"

    Well, again, if you could read, you would have noticed that I DID speak with the Sheriff's Dept., so, it's not them that I need to follow-up with on this excellent story. (By the way, Tony Cipolla, new PIO for the Sheriff's dept., was very helpful in researching this story. Thank you, Tony!)

    It's the DA's office that I need to follow-up with, and jeeze, give me a break, I just published this story last Wednesday, then went to the Fair for the great Brad Paisley concert, then, recuperated from the great Brad Paisley concert, and now it's the weekend, and, a little Journalism 101 lesson, fer ya, toons, it's REEEELLLYY hard to get government sources on the phone on Sundays.

    Patience, Grasshopper, patience.

    Hey, I know what'll help cool your jets: A nice swim! Just pop on down to that "Los Osos Community Pool," and dive in! I hear it's a little hard to find, but maybe your friend, Pandora, can give you directions.

    Oh, and by the way 'toons, the Community Foundation is STILL accepting "donations" for the "Los Osos Community Pool Endowment Fund." Here's the link:

    http://www.sloccf.org/fund_donation.php?id=116

    Feel free to chip in. Swimmers in Morro Bay will appreciate it.

    I'm also glad you gave me a chance to reset that, because I forgot to mention in my piece, that I asked the Community Foundation's, VanderKelen, "Whose name is attached to the "Los Osos Community Pool Endowment Fund?"

    One guess...

    Something to ponder, while you're swimming your laps... or not.

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:37 AM, July 29, 2012  

  • It was late, I meant to say SLO County DA's office. By all means, keep us posted.

    By Blogger Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky, at 10:34 PM, July 30, 2012  

  • So Ron, how that phone call thing going? Heard from the DA yet?

    By Blogger Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky, at 9:31 AM, August 04, 2012  

  • 5 working days later. How's the phone call thing going with the DA?

    By Blogger Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky, at 11:32 AM, August 10, 2012  

  • toonsie writes:

    "How's the phone call thing going with the DA?"

    'toons, do me a favor. Tell your friend Pandora (unless, of course, you're Pandora), to tell her friends in the SLO County DAs office, particularly their official spokesperson, Jarret Gran, to either 1) pick up the phone, or 2) return one of my several messages.

    'ppreciate it, brah.

    If not, I'm just going to have to keep leaving message, after message, after message, until I finally get this one, simple question answered:

    How is the Economic Crime Unit coming along with their "investigation" on the Los Osos Pool Association scam?

    (Uh, lemme guess: "What 'investigation?'")

    [By the way, am I the only one that sees the humor in Nefores saying that this is a "civil matter," therefore he turns it over to the DA's Economic CRIME Unit?

    Huh?]

    By Blogger Ron, at 9:37 AM, August 11, 2012  

  • Maybe no one takes you seriously Ron. Have you thought of that?

    By Blogger Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky, at 2:21 PM, August 12, 2012  

  • What a disrespectful little twat you are, Lynette.

    By Blogger SLOTowner, at 3:30 PM, August 12, 2012  

  • The anonymous blog commenter, 'tooncie writes:

    "Maybe no one takes you seriously Ron."

    Well, like I've said about million times, I genuinely couldn't care less if "no one" takes me seriously (literally: couldn't care less), but what people like the SLO County Sheriff's Dept. and the DA's office REEEELLY need to take seriously, is all of the great primary source documents, that I expose, and then link to... over and over and over again.

    For example, that great, primary source, letter from Pandora to Cinthea, that I made available for public download at this link.

    I mean, how great is that? It's got Pandora's signature, it's dated "2001," it's got letterhead to something called the Los Osos Community Pool Association, when official State records show that the LOCPA never legally existed, it's got Pandora saying that Mr. Starks' "generous gift," along with "the donations of many others," "will" go to build a pool in Los Osos [insert buzzer sound here], and that Cinthea's father's donation is "now irrevocable."

    That's all I care about: exposing great primary source documents, and linking to them in a time-stamped story, that shows that I got to this excellent story first.

    Bingo.

    Of course, that's also exactly why Pandora should be buying me beer, because, I'm the best thing that's ever happened to her, because, now -- now that I've published my story that shows that I got to this excellent story first -- the rest of the worse-than-nothing local "media" has to (again!) pretend that this amazing local story doesn't exist, and that means Pandora, and her conflicted friends within SLO County government can just keep doing whatever it is they do, which, by all indications, is scam every senior citizen they can find with her fake 501 s(c)am (3)s, with complete impunity.

    Uh, Bruce? Warren? Pandora? You're welcome.... again. Now where's my beer?

    Gotta go now, and leave ANOTHER message for Pandora's friends in the DA's office.

    Oh, Jaaarrreeeet.... "Investigation?" Fake Los Osos Pool Association scam? Update? No? No?

    By Blogger Ron, at 9:53 AM, August 13, 2012  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger barb wright, at 10:25 PM, August 15, 2012  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger barb wright, at 10:30 PM, August 15, 2012  

  • [Note: Those deleted comments above showed up in my email box, and so I responded, and then I got here, and saw that the writer deleted her comments, but I already typed up my response, so I'm going to leave the writer's name out, but include her comment.]

    The "deleted comment" above was:

    "Doesnt the LOCSD have a pool account?"

    In true "behavior based marketing" fashion, that's where it gets deliberately confusing.

    There are actually TWO Los Osos Pool accounts.

    The one that the LOCSD oversees, where some assessment money was collected back in the mid-1990s (before Prop 218 kicked in).

    That money is not at issue here.

    It's solely the "over $150,000" in donations that's at the center of my story.

    That's the cash that's all but vanished... and there's no pool... and there's no more Los Osos Community Pool Association (which never legally existed in the first place... and there's no longer even any more pans to build a pool in Los Osos.

    Pure scam, and, frankly, I see, like, zero difference between Pandora's Pool Scam, and what (former Citizen of the Year) Kelly Gearhart is currently being indicted for.

    I mean, according to the Trib:

    "Gearhart allegedly solicited loans from victims of the scheme by falsely saying he owned specific land that would secure their investments.

    He told investors the loans would be paid back with interest, according to the indictment, and that specific lots would be sold back to investors, which he promised to rent. He sold the same lots to multiple buyers, the indictment indicates.
    "

    Well, (former Citizen of the Year) Pandora Nash-Karner solicited "donations" from victims of her ("alleged" [finger quotes]) scheme by falsely saying she was going to build a pool in Los Osos.

    She told investors their donations "will" go to building a pool in Los Osos, and then, some 10 years later, simply folded up shop, and basically said, "Hey, they're trying to build a pool in Morro Bay. Goodnight everybody," and just waked away, apparently, with "over $150,000 in donations" completely unaccounted for.

    If that's legal -- where someone can just make up a fake pool association, and then collect a couple hundred grand in "donations," and then just go quiet for a decade, and then just walk away with the couple hundred grand and no pool -- and, apparently, according to Pandora's friends at the SLO County Sheriff's office, it is... well, where do I apply?

    Uh, now accepting donations for the Santa Margarita Community Pool Association. Please send FAT checks to SewerWatch, P.O. Box...

    By Blogger Ron, at 9:53 AM, August 16, 2012  

  • Another week passes by and still no word from Ron on the DA's response.

    So Ron, why so quiet?

    By Blogger Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky, at 9:00 PM, August 17, 2012  

  • I'm a long-time reader of Ron's blog, and I happen to believe that he's posting GREAT information about Los Osos and its puppeteers. I have no clue why you continue to harass people like Ron and people you disagree with you. Every Los Osos blog, every Los Osos article, every discussion about the sewer, there's you insulting people as if you think you're better than everyone. Maybe YOU work for Pandora. If you don't you should!!

    My nephew was involved in a case involving Shea. You try to call him, he NEVER returns messages. It's hard to get a hold of him. RON SAID THAT HE TRIED TO GET THROUGH TO HIM BUT COULDN'T and yet you continue to post your BULLSHIT. Pandora NashKarner is a fraud, AND SO ARE YOU LYNETTE.

    By Blogger SLOTowner, at 12:26 AM, August 18, 2012  

  • tooncie sez:

    "Another week passes by and still no word from Ron on the DA's response.

    So Ron, why so quiet?"


    Tell ya what I'm gonna do, 'toons.

    Since it might help stop your incessant whining, I'm going to give you another journalism lesson, Cal Poly style: "Learn by doing."

    Here's the phone # to the DA's office: 781-5856

    Call that number, ask for their spokesperson, Jarret Gran, and then ask him this question:

    "How's the Economic Crime Unit's investigation coming along with the Los Osos Community Pool Association scam?"

    And then, if you actually get through to him (because, clearly, that office wants nothing to do with my question), report back here, and lemme know what he said (hint: It'll sound a lot like this: "What investigation?")

    Now, run along, and make that phone call, and write a report back here. It'll be fun! I'll grade your work. : -)

    By Blogger Ron, at 8:24 AM, August 21, 2012  

  • Ronnie, I don't characterize my questions to you as whining, but as a reminder that some self-reflection on your part as to the efficacy of your investigative techniques might be useful to you in your future work. I would never intrude and attempt to do your job for you, even if invited, especially here, as:

    A. My intervention would teach you nothing, and,
    B. This is not my issue, I disagree with your premise, and,
    C. I'm just a reader here, but your lack of people skills might be part of the problem that you have in getting responses.

    Please, do take the time to question why so few respond to you. Do report back on any findings that you might encounter, both personal and work-related. Thanks.

    By Blogger Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky, at 3:23 PM, August 21, 2012  

  • Hi Ron,

    There are many unanswered questions about the movers and shakers of Los Osos. While I sometimes disagree with your approach to covering these issues, I think your work should be read without being constantly and needlessly harassed by someone with a lengthy record of criminal harassment.

    Just keep going. Knowledge is power.

    By Blogger Aaron - Host of "Rock Talk" Radio on 97.3 FM, at 4:15 PM, August 21, 2012  

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