Cogen investigation ends; no criminal charges will be filed
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said late Friday afternoon that state investigators didnt find evidence to support criminal charges against former Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen or former county health manager Sonia Manhas.
After Cogen admitted to a longrunning extramarital affair with Manhas, Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill and Multnomah County Sheriff Daniel Staton asked the state in July to conduct an outside investigation to see if Cogen committed any criminal acts.
The state Department of Justice found no basis to bring criminal charges against Cogen.
Although the DOJ sought repeatedly to interview Cogen directly, he refused to be interviewed without advance information that the DOJ was unwilling to provide.
The DOJ investigated concerns that Cogen abused the power of his office to secure Manhass most recent promotion and pay raise, and found that the promotion complied with county policies and she was qualified for the position. Although Cogen recommended favorable budgets for Manhass department, the DOJ found those recommendations were extensively discussed before being approved by the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners, and were consistent with Cogens longstanding policy priorities.
DOJ investigators also inspected travel records, noting that Cogen did select a county-paid hotel in Atlanta, when attending a convention on county business, that cost more per night than rooms in the conference hotel. However, county policies give elected officials discretion to select their accommodations, investigators found. They noted that Manhas, who joined Cogen in Atlanta, used her vacation time and paid for her own travel.
Investigators also looked into allegations by Manhas that Cogen was a recreational drug user of marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy, but concluded there was insufficient evidence to support drug charges against Cogen.