Four of the Multnomah County Commissioners have called for an outside investigation of Chair Jeff Cogen. Commissioners Deborah Kafoury, Diane McKeel, Judy Shiprack and Loretta Smith are asking for an outside investigation to look into whether Cogen used County funds to bankroll his affair with underling, Sonia Manhas.
Willamette Week got a look at a letter the Commissioners released,
“As a result of the county attorney’s initial inquiry and after consulting with Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill, we, the Multnomah County Commissioners will be asking for an outside investigation. The investigation will seek to determine whether Jeff Cogen misused county funds or other county resources. Additionally, this investigation will seek to determine whether any county personnel rules were violated by chair Cogen. We want to assure the people of Multnomah County that the chair’s actions are being thoroughly examined. This investigation will allow the county to continue moving forward in its mission—to serve the most vulnerable populations in our community.”
Members of the Portland delegation were all booked to stay at the same hotel, the Renaissance Atlanta Midtown, where they’d pay $199 per room per night.
But records show Cogen canceled his reservation in March and rebooked a $249 room at the Loews Atlanta Hotel six blocks away, specifying that he wanted a king-size bed. Manhas’ calendar shows she took vacation time for April 9-11, the three days Cogen was in Atlanta.
The Smirk fills in some holes in the narrative,
A review of Manhas’ calendar shows she was on vacation the same days Cogen was gone, April 9 through April 11. Maybe it’s a coincidence. But suddenly. Cogen using county money to check a second bag, upgrade his room, and change his flight itinerary—each one a move that required extra explanation, according to records—doesn’t seem as harmless.Was Cogen alone throughout the trip? Did he spend county money on Manhas’ travel costs or on a room they used for a tryst? The timing falls within when Cogen said the two would still be seeing one another. [emph added]
It’s a good thing that Bruce McCain has done some reporting on succession strategies for Multnomah County. Find that post here.