A Multnomah County judge has dismissed a $581,000 lawsuit brought against the city by Wade Nkrumah, a former spokesman for Mayor Sam Adams who argued his job was made so awful by the mayor's prevaricating during the Beau Breedlove scandal that he had no choice but to quit.
Nkrumah, who was on the job only for a couple of weeks when the scandal went nuclear in 2009, had argued he was used to pass on falsehoods to the public and was criticized another time when he gave a reporter information that Adams' staff did not want released. Nkrumah also sought damages because Adams misrepresented to a KATU reporter why Nkrumah left, blaming it on "stress."
But Judge Pro Tem Tom Christ ruled in favor of a city motion seeking to toss the case. The city argued that neither Adams, nor his chief of staff, Tom Miller, had asked Nkrumah to lie. Nkrumah also admitted he never personally relayed false information about the mayor's relationship with Breedlove.
According to a copy of the ruling obtained by the Mercury, Christ wrote, "The mayor and his chief of staff, Tom Miller, didn't ask plaintiff to lie. Nor did they take any action against plaintiff for not lying. Plaintiff wasn't punished for exercising—or refusing to breach—the public duty he identifies."
The ruling says later: "In the end, what plaintiff found intolerable were the lies told to him, not any lies he was asked to tell others."
The mayor "appreciates the careful consideration and findings of the court in the matter," says Roy Kaufmann, Adams' current spokesman.
Nkrumah's attorney, Michael Hanlon, has not yet responded to a request for comment. UPDATE 4:46 PM: Hanlon wrote to say he hadn't yet reached Nkrumah and that a statement would be issued once he did.
Even without a court trial, the documents already released in the case were slightly embarrassing for Adams, dredging up the Breedlove scandal once again—including the detailed state investigation that cleared him of wrongdoing—and also exposing some of the inner machinations his staff endured in the scandal's aftermath.
In defense of Nkrumah, a 23-year veteran at the Oregonian when he took a buyout and joined Adams' staff, I have heard more than a few people in town describe him as an utterly "honest guy."
Stay tuned for updates.
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