Why This Fundraising Effort?

The lawsuit’s genesis

This lawsuit attempting to destroy CalCoastNews and its co-founders Karen Velie and Dan Blackburn was brought by Charles Tenborg, but is the spawn of SLO County Supervisor Adam Hill. Hill has bragged to many local people about his role in this lawsuit, sometimes in writing. 

Velie and Blackburn face individual legal issues as a result of the litigation. Blackburn and his wife's modest Paso Robles home of 20 years is threatened. And Tenborg aggressively seeks to “acquire" the news site or simply dismantle it.

Hill and a handful of other individuals who believe themselves imperiled by CalCoastNews' investigative reporting have threatened, harassed, and demeaned CCN reporters and their families, associates, advertisers, and commenters, year after year. 


False and malicious rumors spread via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media by Hill and his minions have impaired CCN’s reporting and raised concerns among advertisers. This has resulted in a crippling loss of revenue. And this in turn has inarguably jeopardized the future of bold local reporting. 

People need to know about the egregious $1.1 million judgment resulting from Tenborg’s lawsuit and the results of Hill's vindictive, tax-supported assault on the media.

Significant efforts to right this wrong are under way:

Alston & Bird filing appeal for reporters Velie and Blackburn

An appeal of their case is being filed on behalf of Velie, Blackburn, and CalCoastNews by Paul Beard of the prominent international law firm Alston & Bird. 

The appeal is pro bono but necessarily involves expenses.


Renowned forensic investigator probing CalCoastNews lawsuit issues

Carl Knudson Investigations has been retained by friends of CalCoastNews to re-examine details of a published article which resulted in litigation and a ludicrous $1.1 million defamation verdict against the news website in March. 

A 25-year veteran of the IRS Criminal Investigations Division, Knudson is sifting through evidence developed by CalCoastNews reporters as they prepared to publish an article about practices of a county-paid hazardous waste disposal company, Eco Solutions, and its owner, Charles Tenborg. 

Knudson already has discovered government notices of violations and penalties assessed to Tenborg that support CalCoastNews’ reporting. These facts were hidden from the court, the jury, and Velie and Blackburn’s defense team.

Testimony of nearly a dozen defense witnesses was not allowed into evidence during the eight-day trial, usually because of missed filing deadlines and similar egregious defense lawyer missteps. Read more