Friday, August 09, 2013

501 S(c)am (3): ReCreate Los Osos, Inc., We Barely Knew Ya!

Finally, some good news: Los Osos is "healed!"

At least I'm assuming Los Osos is "healed," considering that self-professed town "healer," Lou Tornatzky, is gettin' out of the "healing" business. So the town must be healed, right? Rrrrright?


After just two years of so-called "existence," Tornatzky, along with his co-conspira... errrrrrrrrr... accompli... errrrrrrrr... "Principal Attorney," and Los Osos Community Services District Director, Marshall Ochylski, recently filed official papers to "dissolve" their "non-profit" "corporation," ReCreate Los Osos, Inc.

Just two years ago, Lou and Marsh whipped up ReCreate Los Osos with "the specific purpose... to foster community cohesion, cooperation, recreation, dialogue and enjoyment."

Apparently, the entire purpose of ReCreate Los Osos was to "heal" Los Osos from its sewer wounds.

According to their THEN-web site, this "healing... would be accomplished, not by rehashing our points of agreement or disagreements about the sewer. Rather, it would be accomplished by having fun together – projects, gatherings, music, plays, walks."

[I highly recommend as a companion piece to this piece, Ann Calhoun's excellent 2011 blog post, "Lou Tornatzky Heals Los Osos!," on her spectacular blog, at this link:]

In an April 11, 2013, letter to the "Office of the Attorney General, Registrar of Charitable Trusts," Ochylski, acting as "Principal Attorney" for ReCreate Los Osos, writes, "The corporation (ReCreate Los Osos, Inc.) was formed but was essentially inactive during its entire existence."

It's o.k. to laugh here, because, as you're about to read, that quote is really funny.

Think about what happened there -- it's so absurd that it's comical: Here are these two guys, Lou, some sort of local, uh, activist, I guess, and Marshall, a lawyer and elected Los Osos CSD Director, that, seemingly out of the blue, in 2010, say to themselves, "Hey, I've got a great idea! Let's start a non-profit corporation that'll 'heal' Los Osos, and we'll 'heal' Los Osos by 'having fun together,' you know, 'projects, gatherings, music, plays, walks' -- stuff like that."

Already, a huge: Huh?

But then they proceed to do this:

They pop out 3-pages worth of "Articles of Incorporation" (and that couldn't have been easy), THEN they file with the California Secretary of State's office (and that couldn't have been easy, or cheap), THEN they design and create a full-on web site (which is a lot of work), THEN they set-up some sort of "booth" at a local street festival, THEN they "essentially" do nothing for the next three years, THEN they file papers to dissolve their, well, whatever ReCreate Los Osos was. (I mean, are you really "A California Non-profit Benefit Corporation," if you were "essentially inactive" during your "entire existence?" What the hell was the "benefit?")


You don't have to routinely test in the top 99-percentile in "abstract thinking" to grasp how that entire scenario, that I just outlined there, makes no sense whatsoever... well, no sense UNTIL you start reading their "Articles of Incorporation," where we find these great quotes:

"... a corporation (ReCreate Los Osos, Inc.), contributions to which are deductible..."


"... this corporation is authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered... "

Ahhhh... NOW we're getting somewhere. Now the completely nonsensical formation of ReCreate Los Osos, Inc. starts to make perfect sense.

You see, I recognize that M.O. The: Start a sham 501 (c) (3) "non"-(read: for)-profit corporation, collect donations, and then use those donations to hire and pay 1) Yourself, 2) You and your family, or 3) You, your family, AND your friends, M.O.

In fact, I've exposed a version of that exact scam so many different times over my 20 years of reporting on Los Osos, that I've actually come up with my own term to describe it: "501 S(c)am (3)"

Take former Los Osos CSD vice-president, Pandora Nash-Karner, for a PRIME example.

Whether it's Nash-Karner's fake "Los Osos Community Pool Association," where she collected thousands in "donations" to build a pool in Los Osos, over a two decade span, and now there are zero plans to ever build a pool in Los Osos, LOCPA doesn't even exist anymore (it just gradually disappeared over the past two years), and the money's all but vanished (of course), or Nash-Karner's super-shady Political Action Committee, "Save the Dream," from 2004-05, where she, again, collected thousands in donations, and then turned right around and used her own PAC's money to hire her own graphic design business, OR Nash-Karner's equally shady "Celebrate Los Osos," where she uses her position as a SLO County Parks Commissioner to use county staff (on county time [of course]) to help her funnel checks to her home address, via her, by all accounts, fake, "Celebrate Los Osos" "corporation," the history of Los Osos's (but really, up to ReCreate Los Osos, just Nash-Karner's) 501 S(c)am (3)s, is rich AND fascinating, no matter where you live.

"There is a link to Celebrate Los Osos on the (ReCreate Los Osos web) site," writes, Lynette Tornatzky, Lou Tornatzky's wife, in a series of highly ill-advised comments that she left on Ann Calhoun's blog, in 2011, at the above-referenced blog post.

And there's the link, literally, between the over-the-top shady ReCreate Los Osos, Inc., and Nash-Karner's long list of 501 S(c)am (3)s, where she uses donations to hire and pay herself, and/or her husband, and/or her friends, because, apparently, 501 S(c)am (3)s are "authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered... ."

Easy money, and, obviously, Lou and Marshall got a little (lot?) of 501 S(c)am (3) advice from their friend, Nash-Karner, when they launched ReCreate Los Osos, for no apparent reason whatsoever, well, OTHER than Nash-Karner's usual 501 S(c)am (3) M.O. of this:

"... a corporation, contributions to which are deductible..."


"... this corporation is authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered... "

Included in her incredibly ill-advised comments, Lynette Tornatzky, also writes, "The reason for 'the reasons' on the (ReCreate Los Osos) website is geared to potential donors. You don't try to get funding with no compelling reason for doing so."

Exactly, and that "compelling reason" to "get funding" from "potential donors," so ReCreate Los Osos can "pay reasonable compensation for services rendered," to businesses like, oh, say, Pandora and Co., for example, is the cringe-worthy "healing" process of "having fun together – projects, gatherings, music, plays, walks," that ReCreate Los Osos sketched out in their "Articles of Incorporation."

Apparently, "having fun together" ain't cheap, and that's why Marsh and Lou had to come up with SOME sort of "compelling reason" "geared" toward "getting funding" from "potential donors," and "healing" was that "compelling reason."

And, hey, SOMEONE has to market that information to the public, or else there will be no "together," and, therefore, no "healing," and, therefore, no "potential donors," right? Might as well "pay reasonable compensation for services rendered" to the local marketing firm [wink, wink] to get the word out about all that "healing" taking place at good ol' ReCreate Los Osos.

Of course, the stomach turning, literally nauseating, twist in all of this, is that the same people whose names are "linked" with ReCreate Los Osos (primarily, Nash-Karner), are the exact same people that shredded the community fabric of Los Osos into tiny, iddy-biddy pieces in the first place, when those same people (primarily, former LOCSD vice-president, Nash-Karner) wasted some seven years, 1998 - 2005, and $25 million of the town's money, futilely attempting to build some crazy, nonsensical, "socially infeasible," "mid-town" sewer plant, smack dab in the middle of Los Osos, that included a $10 million "picnic area" -- a complete failure/disaster that "more than 4,000" property owners are STILL paying for until the year 2034, despite the fact that that non-project will never exist.

And, why will it never exist?

Well, shockingly, it turns out that building an industrial sewer plant in the middle of a beautiful coastal town -- a coastal town loaded with environmentally sensitive habitat -- for the sole reason that the town's residents can more easily "picnic" in their downtown sewer plant, isn't such a good idea after all, and the entire mess turned out to be nothing more than the embarrassment I first exposed it to be in my 2004 (2004!) New Times cover story -- an unmitigated disaster, with zero documentable rationale behind its ridiculous, and, frankly, illegal downtown siting, and a disaster that never even came close to working when, in 2009 (2009!), the Los Osos CSD's "infeasible" non-project didn't even come close to making County officials' "short-list" of potential projects for Los Osos... of course, and that's when it finally, and quietly (of course), died.

And, so, here we are. Full circle. That's WHY, in 2010, Lou Tornatzky and Marshall Ochylski set out to "heal" Los Osos, with their ReCreate Los Osos -- because the town, understandably, was SOOOOOOO pissed that their local government, led by Lou and Marshall's friend, and apparent 501 S(c)am (3) mentor, Nash-Karner, wasted $25 million and some seven years designing, and then starting construction on, some crazy "picnic area"/industrial sewer plant in the middle of their beautiful central California coastal town, that never even came close to working, yet, "more than 4,000" Los Osos property owners are still paying for it... for the next 20 years.

So, uh, yeah... It's completely understandable that Los Osos would need a TON of healing following seven years of their local government using the town's public money to lie to them... over, and over, and over again, about the District's now-miserably-failed, disastrous, mid-town sewer/"picnic area" embarrassment -- that wasted $25 million of the town's money, and that Los Ososans will be paying for until the year 2034.

Perrrrrfect sense on why ReCreate Los Osos would want to "heal" Los Osos, considering what their friend and mentor did to Los Osos over the past decade-plus. That makes a lot of sense.

In fact, the only real difference I see between Lou and Marsh's 501 S(c)am (3), and Nash-Karner's numerous 501 S(c)am (3)s, is that Nash-Karner is WAAAAAY better at it, because she's still getting checks mailed to her home address, and Lou and Marsh are out of business.

Humorously, also found in ReCreate Los Osos's silly "Articles of Incorporation," is this quote:

"No substantial part of the activities of this incorporation shall consist of carrying on propaganda..."

"No substantial part?" Uh, guys? That's ALL ReCreate Los Osos did in its pathetic, one month of "existence" -- "carrying on propaganda." (Remember the ill-conceived Oktoberfest booth?)

Finally (and this is just great), in their dissolution papers, it reads:

"The corporation has no members; the election (to dissolve) was made by the board of directors of the corporation."

Which, of course, begs the question: ReCreate Los Osos had a board of directors?

For what? After all, they WERE "essentially inactive during its entire existence," so, what the fuck did the board of directors do?

I mean, how did the ReCreate Los Osos board of directors meetings go?:

Lou: Marsh, would you please bring this meeting of the board of directors of ReCreate Los Osos to order?

Marsh: (surveying an empty room): Uh, well, sure, Lou, whatever you say... As Principal Attorney of ReCreate Los Osos, I now bring this meeting of the board of directors of ReCreate Los Osos, Inc. to order.

Lou: Thank you, Mr. O. Sooooooooo... Marsh, it looks like our agenda today is exactly like all of our other agendas over the past three years -- "essentially" nothing.

Marsh: I motion that we bust a cap in ReCreate Los Osos's ass, and immediately dissolve this disaster. My god, what were we thinking? What a colossal waste of not only my time, but the California Secretary of State's office, as well. SewerWatch is 100-percent right... we should have never listened to Pandora. Boy, did we fuck up.

Lou: I second that excellent motion. All in favor?

Marsh: Aye!

Lou: Aye! The motion carries unanimously, and that concludes the final meeting of the board of directors of ReCreate Los Osos, Inc. Los Osos, consider yourself "healed!" And, oh yeah... You're welcome!

[O.K. final "finally:" In her crazy-ill-advised comments from 2011, Lynette Tornatzky, also writes:

"Anyway, you are welcome to follow and see what happens next (with ReCreate Los Osos)."

That was in 2011.

Well, Lynette, I followed, and I saw: Your husband and his lawyer buddy set up some sort of SUPER-shady 501 S(c)am (3), with the stink of a Nash-Karner-style "non"-profit all over it, in a (disgusting, I will add) effort to "heal" Los Osos of the massive sewer wounds that were inflicted by Lou and Marsh's friend (and fellow 501 S(c)am (3)er) in the first place. THEN, ReCreate Los Osos "essentially" did nothing for three years (except propaganda), and then they quitely dissolved the entire embarrassment.

Great. Glad I stuck around to "see" that... whatever it was. Can't wait to see "what happens next."]



  • Interesting observations. I've had a few articles about ReCreate Los Osos.

    According to their incorporation filings, which I also have, ReCreate Los Osos didn't make much money. I didn't see anything problematic. However, Mr. Ochylski's comments about RCLO "essentially inactive during its entire existence" is not true. They were active in one event (Oktoberfest) and solicited donations for a year after that.

    At the time RCLO was formed, I spoke to Ochylski who indicated that the corporation was active. In fact, the effort was led primarily by Paul Molykant of LOCAC. RCLO was a essentially a response to the LOCAC board's desire to form a non-profit that helped improve Los Osos. However, Celebrate Los Osos had already formed, which had the same exact mission and purpose.

    Lou Tornatzky volunteered to be the chair since, according to RCLO board members, it would help rehabilitate the Tornatzkys' image in the community and his wife was a very active participant in local policy discussions -- so why not?

    Mrs. Tornatzky applied and got accepted to two LOCSD subcommittees around the time RCLO was taking off and Ochylski never disclosed his involvement with RCLO as a board member. Ochylski told me he didn't feel he needed to disclose anything because he didn't receive any remuneration from RCLO.

    After our discussion, his name was removed from the RCLO board of directors list.

    So what's the moral of the story? If you're going to run a 501(c)(3), do it for the right reasons and make sure the board stays on message. Also, don't bring in two sewer-obsessed dilettantes to lead a non-profit and portray it as non-partisan.

    By Blogger Aaron Ochs - Managing Editor of The ROCK, at 9:57 AM, August 12, 2013  

  • Wow, talk about deafening silence.

    Lynette Tornatzky posts about 5 gazillion comments on every blog she can find, including about 2 gazillion on this blog alone, yet, when I report on a story (involving an ultra-shady "non"-profit "corporation") where her name actually comes up, nothing. Not a word.

    And that's too bad, 'cause I was hoping/expecting to get some questions answered here for my story, from a primary source, like Lynette.

    For example:

    - Really? ReCreate Los Osos really had a "Board of Directors?" And, if so, who was on it, and what the hell did they do?

    - And, how's the dissolution process coming along? I hear it's a difficult process.

    - And, is Marsh O. being compensated for that huge effort, or is he doing all of that pro bono? If so, why?

    - And, what the fuck happened?: They go through all of the trouble and expense of establishing a "non"-profit, and then "essentially" do nothing with it. Huh?

    Sooooo shady.

    I can only assume the answer to that last question is because if they had attempted a Pandora style 501 S(c)am (3), I would have instantly caught them doing it.

    Looks like Marshall FINALLY gave Lynette some wise legal advice: "STOP posting comments involving ReCreate Los Osos."

    Smart advice.

    Finally, in her "profile," Tornatzky writes: "Occupation: Art Director for Print/Graphic Designer"

    Uh, Lynette, who's the "Print/Graphic Designer?"

    Ahhhh.... NOW ReCreate Los Osos is starting to make at least a little sense.

    And, again, thank god for blog technology.

    By Blogger Ron, at 11:27 AM, August 20, 2013  

Post a Comment

<< Home