Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen admits affair - KPTV - FOX 12

Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen admits affair with county employee

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen admitted to an affair with a county health employee Tuesday, and told his staff he would be taking time off to be with his family.

Cogen described it as a "very personal and private matter" in his letter to county staff.

An email sent to county officials and obtained by FOX 12 alleged Cogen became involved in an affair with Sonia Manhas, an employee in the county health department.

"Employees at Multnomah County have spotted Chair Cogen kissing Sonia Manhas in front of the Kenton Library and in a booth and at a bar in Portland along with a few other 'sightings,'" the email said.

The email also alleged Manhas was promoted within the health department because of her relationship with Cogen, but the Multnomah County Chair denied that in a report published by Willamette Week.

"What a shame if this information ever got leaked to the media," the writer of the email said.

In a statement from the county, Cogen acknowledged he made a "tremendous mistake professionally and personally" by becoming involved in the affair.

And in his letter to county staff, he said he violated the trust of county workers and of the public, but it appears he has no plans to step down.

"I will work hard to regain that trust, though I know it won't be easy," Cogen wrote.

READ: Cogen's letter to county employees | Statement from Multnomah County

As Multnomah County Chair, Cogen is the county's highest ranking official. He was elected to the Multnomah County Commission In November 2006, and then was elected as Multnomah County Chair in May 2010.

Cogen is originally from Florida. He now lives in northeast Portland with his wife and two children.

He has not spoken directly with FOX 12 about the affair, but he did speak about his marriage in a 2010 video posted on YouTube. In the video, part of a grassroots marriage equality campaign, Cogen said he wants everyone to "have the same joy and the same connection that Lisa and I have had for almost 20 years now."

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  • Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen admits affairMore>>

  • Statement from Multnomah County on Jeff Cogen

    Statement from Multnomah County on Jeff Cogen

    Wednesday, July 17 2013 4:03 PM EDT2013-07-17 20:03:47 GMT
    The following is a July 17, 2013 statement from a Multnomah County spokesman regarding chair Jeff Cogen, who admitted to having an affair with a county employee:The chair of Multnomah County is ultimatelyMore >
    The following is a July 17, 2013 statement from a Multnomah County spokesman regarding chair Jeff Cogen, who admitted to having an affair with a county employee:More >
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