Multnomah County Commission wants external investigation into Co - KPTV - FOX 12

Multnomah County Commission wants external investigation into Cogen affair

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Multnomah County commissioners want to know whether Chair Jeff Cogen violated policy or misused county funds and resources during his admitted affair with a county employee.

News of Cogen's affair with Health Department policy advisor Sonia Manhas was revealed last week when an anonymous county employee sent out a mass email about it, also questioning Cogen's influence on Manhas' promotion.

Documents show Cogen served as her reference to got a job promotion during the affair.

Even though the Multnomah County attorney is already investigating the affair, the commissioners also wanted an outside investigation to take place.

"The commissioners are looking to make sure that the public's trust is maintained," said county spokesman Dave Austin. "They want the public to know that while we're doing our own inquiry, it's best to have someone from the outside look at things as well."

The investigation will include Cogen's business trip to Atlanta in April. Cogen was there on official county business attending a convention. Travel records show he canceled his hotel reservation where all of his other co-workers were staying and switched to a different hotel a few blocks away. Manhas' schedule shows she took vacation days during that period and she told the Willamette Week newspaper that she spent that time in Atlanta with Cogen.

Cogen did not answer the door when FOX 12 went to his home for comment. Manhas could not be reached.

County officials said it would take a few days to find an outside investigator.

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