Embattled Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen has been dodging reporters who want to talk about his illicit affair with former county health employee Sonia Manhas, which is why some reporters decided to sign up for the public comment period at this Thursday's commission meeting.
Looking at the table where the public sits to talk, Cogen addressed the woman with the familiar face. "You can go ma'am if you'd like, that's fine." To which the woman replied "for the record my name is Hillary Lake and I'm with KATU News."
Questions from Lake, as well as a KATU producer and a KOIN 6 reporter, centered on whether Cogen misappropriated county funds to support Sonia Manhas's program.
Cogen refused to answer and at one point Lake wondered "you're sitting here sir with a smile on your face. I'm wondering why." Cogen replied "I will say this is not a question and answer session. The matters that are being asked about are the subject of an investigation which I have been cooperating with fully and it wouldn't be appropriate for me to talk about those matters until the investigation is over."
After the reporters were done a somewhat scruffy man with long beard and a dirty baseball cap named Lightning sat down. He knows Sonia Manhas resigned and wasn't fired. But he wondered "could there have been any undue influence to get her to resign." And, he followed up, asking if Cogen is waiting for the investigation to be completed why couldn't Manhas also have waited. "If the investigation proves to only be an affair between two consenting adults then, I ask you Chair Jeff Cogen, could Sonia Manhas possibly haver her job back?"
When Cogen again refused to answer, another member of the public, Joe Walsh told Cogen. "You sir have no honor. Today you should resign. That is honor."