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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Attorney General's Office Investigating Cogen/Manhas Affair

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 4:25 PM

County spokesman David Austin confirms that the AGs office is probing Jeff Cogens conduct.
Unsurprisingly, after last night's request by four Multnomah County commissioners that an outside agency look into whether laws were broken as part of Chair Jeff Cogen's affair with health policy manager Sonia Manhas, the state attorney general's office has agreed to conduct an investigation.

District Attorney Rod Underhill and Sheriff Dan Staton wrote Ellen Rosenblum a letter today asking for it, noting that "as presented to the public, the facts could lead some to question whether any criminal laws were violated." But they also say, as a matter of form, that they're too close with Cogen's office to do it themselves.

They appear to be talking about Cogen's second, previously undisclosed Atlanta trip with Manhas where he spent county money on a hotel room he used for a conference but that he also used to see Manhas, who took vacation. The Mercury was the first news outlet to raise questions about his Atlanta trip, way back on Friday. In an update to a post on the trip last night, we also raised the specter Cogen broke ORS 244.040.

County spokesman David Austin, at a news conference at 4 pm, also said the county's internal inquiry into whether county rules were broken will continue alongside the new investigation.

"That has not stopped," he said.

Earlier today, Manhas submitted her resignation with a long letter where she made the claim that no one in the county was listening to her side of the story and that media reports about emails showing her professional relationship with Cogen and how she apparently enjoyed special access to him were "inaccurate."

Cogen remains employed. He told KGW yesterday that he won't resign.

My iPhones lousy picture of the statement Austin handed out from the DA and sheriff.
  • My iPhone's lousy picture of the statement Austin handed out from the DA and sheriff.

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