On Monday, June 22, Attorney General John Kroger walked into the Capitol's press room to hold what was clearly the most important press conference of his short political career.
In front of about 20 journalists, as well as TV cameras and radio stations broadcasting live, Kroger released the results of his five-month investigation into Mayor Sam Adams' relationship with Beau Breedlove.
That investigation began after Adams admitted to WW on Jan. 19 that he had had a sexual relationship in 2005, when he was 41, with then-teenage legislative intern Beau Breedlove.
By any interpretation, Kroger's report that there was "insufficient evidence to charge Mayor Adams with a criminal offense" was good news for the beleaguered Adams. Kroger's Oregon Department of Justice reached that conclusion after considering five possible theories of criminal behavior:
Kroger, a Democrat, is a former New York mob prosecutor who moved to Oregon in 2002 and won the attorney general's race last November with a vow to energize a sleepy office.
During Kroger's five-plus months in office, he has interpreted his job broadly and with an ambition exceeded only by the volume of press releases his office has issued.
But in the case of the Adams investigation, Kroger interpreted his assignment in the narrowest of ways. As he told reporters on Monday, he was not looking at whether Adams was guilty. He was not considering whether Adams was credible. He was not considering whether Adams acted in a predatory fashion. He was simply looking at whether he could successfully prosecute Adams on any of the five theories.
And Kroger concluded that, most likely, he could not.
The Monday press conference seemed intended to write the last chapter on a story that dogged the mayor sinc mid-2007 and has gripped much of this city since last January. That's when Bob Ball, a prominent developer and then-mayoral wannabe, heard the Breedlove rumors and passed them on. Adams counter-attacked vigorously—ultimately eviscerating Ball's credibility, ending whatever political ambitions Ball had.
Adams won a decisive mayoral victory in May 2008. But just weeks after his January 2009 inauguration, WW reported that Adams had lied when he earlier denied a sexual relationship with Breedlove.
During the five shaky months that followed, other elected officials shunned Adams; he lurched from one sketchy idea (Major League Soccer) to the next (a headquarters hotel next to the Convention Center), crashed his truck under mysterious circumstances, and got foreclosure notices on his home and a rental property.
Shortly after Kroger's report, Adams issued a press statement saying, "I made mistakes in my personal life," and "I want to reiterate that I am sorry."
And he met individually with reporters, telling WW: "I've obviously made bad judgments, about lying to you and others about whether or not I had a sexual relationship with Beau after he was an adult. I have apologized for that and my apologies are sincere." (For more, see page 29.)
During the past 36 hours, WW has digested the report, spoken to lawyers across the state and sorted through the several hundred pages of investigative documents released by the Department of Justice.
These documents include information from Adams' computer, interviews with many of the 57 people, and reviews of Adams' phone records and city calendars. While we continue to report the story, behind the report Kroger released is an extraordinary amount of detail even the casual observer should find fascinating.
Whether the cumulative weight of the details will convince an objective reader that Kroger came to the right conclusion is unclear. But it is mesmerizing stuff. Here then, are the 14 most interesting things about the Kroger probe:
Perhaps the most puzzling question about Kroger's investigation is why he didn't ask Adams or Breedlove or others to appear under oath before a grand jury.
Several Oregon lawyers we consulted were incredulous that Kroger did not take that step in his effort to sort out the truth.
Why would a grand jury have been useful?
Simply because in Oregon it is not against the law to lie to an investigator in a state case. But it is against the law to lie to a grand jury.
Conceivably, someone giving testimony to a grand jury would more likely tell the truth knowing they could face perjury charges if he lied.
And if there is one thing certain from the Kroger investigation, it is that at least one person, and perhaps many more, were lying.
"I found it hard to understand why Kroger didn't take some of these witnesses to a grand jury," said a lawyer who has prosecuted cases for an Oregon district attorney's office. "It makes no sense."
Kroger, a former veteran federal prosecutor and Lewis Clark Law School professor, gave an explanation at the press conference that was less than satisfying.
He said his investigators could not have compelled Adams to testify (can one imagine what it would have looked like for Adams had he not cooperated?), and noted that putting other witnesses before a grand jury would have reduced how much information was gathered—and the transparency of that information.
Adams told WW in an interview hours after Kroger's press conference (see Adams QA, page 29) that he "absolutely" would have gone before a grand jury if asked.
And it was also puzzling to some legal observers that investigators didn't subject Adams or others to a polygraph. Kroger says he has never used a polygraph in an investigation and he saw no reason to do so in this instance.
Much of the investigative report deals with the issue of whether Adams and Breedlove had kissed before Breedlove was 18. As crazy as it may sound, this is because in Oregon, sexual contact of any sort between Adams and Breedlove before he was 18 would have been a crime—even if it were a kiss—as long as it was a "sexual" kiss. This issue of the kiss—or kisses—required a lot of space in the report, as it is the one area where Breedlove and Adams disagree substantively. While both men said they didn't have sex until shortly after Breedlove's 18th birthday, the two differ about the kissing. Breedlove told investigators he and Adams kissed in a City Hall bathroom following a First Thursday event at Adams' office. "After using the restroom, they embraced each other body to body and engaged in a long, mutual kiss on the lips. BREEDLOVE describe [sic] the incident as 'passionate' and 'making out,'" Investigator Ron Nelson wrote after a Feb. 23 interview with Breedlove. "When asked if either of them touched the other in the genital area, [Breedlove] answered that 'nothing inappropriate occurred' and would not elaborate."
When investigators interviewed Adams on May 28, he said "he could not recall if he was in the restroom at the same time as Breedlove," but insisted that even if they were, they certainly did not kiss.
Breedlove also says he and Adams kissed at another time before Breedlove turned 18, after they met and had lunch downtown. Adams, however, "denied any kissing or intimate physical contact with Breedlove" after that lunch, according to the AG's report. Adams' chief of staff, Tom Miller, told investigators he asked Adams whether an underage kiss occurred, and Adams "answered that he couldn't remember."
Breedlove was actually pretty consistent in his position about the underage kisses. He told the same story in each of his six interviews with DOJ investigators. And he said the same things to The Oregonian, KGW and CBS News. Nevertheless, Kroger said Breedlove's credibility was at issue in part because when Breedlove gave a statement to Adams' lawyers, he denied the kisses. The report points out that on Jan. 21 and 22, 2009 (right after WW published the story), Adams' attorney, Sam Kauffman, and investigator Kara Beus interviewed Breedlove, arriving at his apartment at 11 pm on Jan. 21. Breedlove told them he and Adams did not engage in any sexual contact or kissing prior to his 18th birthday. "This statement flatly contradicts Breedlove's statements to DOJ," investigators wrote.
It seemed odd to have Adams' lawyers grill Breedlove for two days before Kroger's investigation got rolling—at a time when Breedlove had no lawyer. Nevertheless, DOJ investigators used this inconsistent testimony as evidence Breedlove was not credible. The final report also pointed to his 2006 felony conviction for shoplifting in Hawaii as evidence that he was not believable.
One of the most interesting new pieces of information in the investigators' interviews is the revelation that Adams gave money to Breedlove in late 2008 or early 2009.
In all the media coverage of the Adams-Breedlove relationship, nobody had previously reported that after Breedlove returned to Portland in November 2007, Adams gave Breedlove two "loans" totaling $750 last winter. Adams also helped Breedlove get a job leasing apartments at the Wyatt in the Pearl District (ironically, a building developed by Adams' would-be rival, Bob Ball). "ADAMS said these loans were based on verbal agreement," investigator Nelson wrote. "No interest, payment structure or due dates were associated with the loans. ADAMS advised BREEDLOVE has not made any payments on the loans and he has not asked BREEDLOVE for the money. ADAMS was asked if the loans were tied to BREEDLOVE's cooperation regarding their agreement to suppress the truth about their sexual relations. ADAMS answered they were not."
ADAMS AND BREEDLOVE: The mayor loaned $750 to Breedlove last winter. IMAGE: Byron Beck
According to the report, Breedlove's account of the loans in his interview with investigators is that "in December of 2008 or January of 2009, he needed to move and did not have the necessary funds. Adams gave him two cash loans, one for $250 and another for $500. Breedlove said that he used the cash to pay his bills. Breedlove stated that Adams gave the money for the first loan to a female at the front desk in the mayor's office. She gave him [Breedlove] the cash, which was in a Key Bank envelope. Adams gave the cash from the second loan to an older, white male security guard on the first floor of City Hall. Breedlove said he retrieved the cash from the security guard." (Adams' scheduler, Cevero Gonzalez, told investigators Adams gave him an envelope to give to a male security guard but did not tell him what the envelope was for).
Few people would want to publicly discuss their sex life, but a search of Adams' computer hard drive by investigators found what appears to be a rough draft of a statement that Adams was trying to craft on Jan. 24.
The mayor discusses his "notoriously bad gaydar," his "dating cul de sac" and the dating lessons he's learned. He ended up not making this statement, which is not edited for spelling:
So before I answer your questions, I want to give you some more details about my life in late 2004 into 2005.
My prupose in providing this background is not to excuse away any of the reposnsbility that I now take for my actions, but to publically explain what I have learned looking back on my own mistakes in judgement.
In 2005 I was still recovering after the amicable but painful break up with my expartener of 11 years who had moved out of our house in December 2004. I should have taken some alone time to reflect on my failed relationship but my well-documented trait for action in luie of reflection kicked in.
I was trying to move on by dating. I had never been out of the closet as gay and single. So that was new. I have notoriously bad "gaydar." And I had a bad experince showing an interest in someone who turned out to be a straight guy.
And it seemed creepy to ask strangers out when they met me in the context of being the "the commissioner."
These factors left me aimlessly circling in a dating culdesac.
I decided to only date guys who asked me out.
I dated John Vizzina in spring 2005 because he dropped a note asking to my office asking me on a date. I adventurllay dated Bueau Breedlove in summer of 2005 because he gave me a card and then asked me to lunch.
In hindsight I should not have been dating at all. I was not ready again for it. I was not honest with John oe Bueau that seeing both of them. I was stupid enough to take John to Bueau's 18th birthday party. So when they ran into each other on the street any traded notes they must have both realitzed the smuch I was bring.
It is humiltaing to have to share these detailed short comings of my personal life. But necessary to fill out the public record. I am a public figure and I knew the rules of the spotlight when I signed up to seek this job.
In the past four years I have leatrned a lot in the dating world. And I have found a very special person. I have been dating peter for the last 10 months and it has been great. I still work hard but I have more balance in my life.
I have leanred how to be more honest in my romatoinc realrtionships. How better to engage the dating scene as a public figure. I have learned an age difference of over 20 years was too big, That for me to date some as young a beau is not right because it is not fair them.
I apologize to Beau for asking him to lie for me.
I apologize to my colleagues for my poor handling of this matter.
I apologize to the people of Portland for my dishonesty.
As one of its leaders, I want to apoligize to the gay community for embarrassing them.
I should have been truthful from the beginning.
While Kroger's investigators interviewed 57 people, there were at least two puzzling omissions. The first was Adams' current boyfriend, Peter Zuckerman, a former reporter for The Oregonian.
Presumably, Zuckerman—who has since left The Oregonian to write a book—might have shed light on what Adams told him about his involvement with Breedlove.
The other omission was Bruce Carey, Breedlove's cousin and the owner of Bluehour in the Pearl District. Carey is also an owner of Saucebox and 23Hoyt, as well as a prominent voice in Portland's gay community.
Breedlove worked in 2007 as a waiter at the restaurant, and was reportedly close to Carey.
One would think Carey could have provided answers to investigators asking what Breedlove was saying about his relationship with Adams and when he said it.
One of the strangest responses Adams gave to WW during his Jan. 15 interview with the paper, when Adams repeatedly denied he had had a sexual relationship with Breedlove, was his explanation for the motives of a former boyfriend, John Vezina. Vezina said Adams had lied in 2007 about the nature of his relationship with Breedlove.
For a brief period in the summer of 2005, Adams and Vezina dated. Vezina even accompanied Adams to Breedlove's 18th birthday party at Breedlove's parents' home in Salem in June 2005.
But in his City Hall interview with WW on Jan. 15, Adams claimed Vezina was not credible, and he suggested Vezina had a motive for making what Adams claimed at the time were false statements.
"I accused [Vezina] of trying to rape Beau," Adams said.
A fuller account of that exchange emerged in the documents Kroger released Monday.
According to a Feb. 23 Department of Justice interview with Breedlove, Adams and Breedlove scheduled a rendezvous in Portland for the middle of July 2005, shortly after Breedlove turned 18. Breedlove took a train from Salem to Portland, where the two men dined at the Heathman Hotel. They then rented a movie, went back to Adams' Kenton bungalow, and had sex. The next day, according to Breedlove's statement, Adams had to attend a barbecue with then-Mayor Tom Potter, so Adams dropped Breedlove off downtown, presumably at Union Station.
With hours to kill before his train left for Salem, Breedlove decided to walk around Portland. On his stroll, something unexpected happened: He ran into Vezina, who told Breedlove he could wait for his train at his apartment. Later, while sitting on Vezina's couch, Breedlove says Vezina "forced himself on him sexually," according to the interview, but Breedlove was "able to escape."
Breedlove also told investigators Vezina followed him to the train station. Breedlove asked a security guard to intervene, and Vezina left, Breedlove claims.
Breedlove says he then called Adams and told him about Vezina, and Adams came back to the train station.
The two then returned to Adams' Kenton bungalow, where Breedlove spent a second night and they had sex again, according to Breedlove.
On May 28, in his own interview with investigators, Adams corroborated most of Breedlove's story with one exception: Adams did not recall having sex with Breedlove that Sunday night, telling investigators that he recalled only that the two had slept in the same bed.
Vezina was also interviewed by investigators, and denied forcing himself on Breedlove.
Bob Ball, the man who started this extraordinary story by going to Commissioner Randy Leonard in 2007 and explaining he had heard rumors about Breedlove and Adams, was also interviewed by Kroger's investigators.
Few new details surface other than Ball's recounting of his meeting Breedlove in summer 2008 (after the original story had surfaced and been successfully denied by Adams, destroying Ball's political aspirations) at a function at the Q Center.
In his interview, Ball says Breedlove told him how Adams and his political consultant, Mark Wiener, had characterized Ball:
"BALL advised he first met BREEDLOVE at the Q-Center, a gay and lesbian community center. He was checked-in at the door by two young men. One of them came up to him during the function and introduced himself as Beau BREEDLOVE. BALL said BREEDLOVE told him he had recently returned from Michigan where he had been residing. BREEDLOVE told him that when he was seeing ADAMS, he didn't understand the magnitude of the politics. Since he was residing in Michigan during the news coverage, he was somewhat removed from the issue. BALL stated that BREEDLOVE said, "They (ADAMS and WIENER) called me and said you were some scumbag developer." BREEDLOVE told him that since he (BREEDLOVE) returned to Portland, people described him (BALL) as a good guy. BALL further advised that BREEDLOVE said if the truth had come out, it would have hurt ADAMS. BREEDLOVE apologized and advised he also liked ADAMS and didn't want to cause problems for either of them."
One interesting tidbit in Ball's interview with investigators was a note he says he got from Anna Griffin, then a City Hall reporter for The Oregonian who covered the rumors about Breedlove and Adams and Ball's role in spreading them.
"BALL advised that when the story broke in 2007, GRIFFIN left a business card and message at his residence," according to the investigators' report on their interview with BALL. "In the message, she accused him of spreading rumors. She also told him the rumors were not true and that he should apologize to ADAMS."
Here's a name we didn't expect to see on Kroger's interview list: Secretary of State Kate Brown (IMAGE: Soma Honkanen).
Turns out Brown was interviewed because she tried to help Breedlove with legal representation after WW broke the story last January. Here's part of her interview:
"BROWN said she next learned more about the relationship between ADAMS and Beau BREEDLOVE from a staff member, Amy WILSON, on or near the date of the presidential nomination in January of 2009. She then read the article in the Oregonian newspaper. BROWN described her reaction as "very upset," because ADAMS lied about the relationship.
BROWN stated that she is involved with Basic Rights of Oregon (BRO) and Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender (LBGT) issues. She was concerned that the situation involving ADAMS and BREEDLOVE was detrimental to gay and lesbian interests. BROWN said she contacted Maura ROCHE ROACH, a lobbyist for BRO. She attempted to contact BRO Executive Director, as well. BROWN advised that due to her relationship with BRO, she anticipated contact from the news media. She wanted to coordinate her news media response with BRO.
BROWN also explained that she was concerned about BREEDLOVE. Although she didn't know him, she could imagine what he may be experiencing. BROWN explained that ADAMS is an older and politically sophisticated person with a number of supporters and resources. She thought that BREEDLOVE was much younger, less sophisticated and more vulnerable. She felt compelled to assist BREEDLOVE so that his legal and moral interests were properly represented."
One of the many twists to this tale has been the fact that Kroger and Adams share a political consultant.
During investigators' interview of Wiener, we learn more about Wiener's contract with Adams:
WIENER confirmed his agreement with ADAMS was verbal. The agreement included services he, (WIENER) normally provides for clients. He creates message strategy, provides printed material, such as brochures, and gives advice. He also receives campaign money to create radio and television messages. In ADAMS' case, these messages were provided to Media Analysis, Inc., which is the company that purchased air time from radio and television stations. He generally paid 85% of the campaign money to Media Analysis, Inc. and he kept 15% as a commission. WIENER said this is primarily how he was paid during the mayoral campaign.
And that Wiener didn't charge Adams during the siege faced by the mayor in January:
WIENER was asked about the status of his working relationship with ADAMS regarding consulting services in January of 2009. He answered that the professional advice provided to ADAMS in 2009 was considered part of the original job. He did not charge ADAMS for his service.
Many of Adams' staff members were interviewed by investigators, but the one whose testimony could have created the most problems for the mayor was Yocom, his 2008 campaign manager and current policy director of arts and culture.
Yocom told investigators she told Adams she believed he and Breedlove kissed prior to his 18th birthday. She also said she worried when Adams displayed a knowledge of other states' ages of consent for sex with minors, and she urged investigators to probe whether Adams took Breedlove to Washington state.
As Adams' campaign manager during his run for mayor, Yocom was a politically savvy City Hall veteran. So when Adams' chief of staff, Tom Miller, and his political adviser, Mark Wiener, called Yocom in September 2007 to warn her about the Breedlove rumors Bob Ball was circulating, Yocom told investigators she demanded the truth so she could advise Adams on the situation.
"Yocom said this concerned her because she was going to be his campaign manager and advisor and had not even started the position, and there was already a scandal," the AG's report says. "She said she wanted him to assure her there was no inappropriate contact or a relationship prior to her accepting the position as his campaign manager. He assured her that there was not."
Yocom's concerns multiplied again after the 2008 primary, when Adams beat challenger Sho Dozono by a wide enough margin to become the designated mayor-elect. Yocom told investigators what has never before been revealed—that sometime after the primary, Adams asked her to clear his schedule so he could have dinner in public with Breedlove.
"Yocom asked Adams not to do it and suggested holding off contact with him until after the 2008 general election," the AG's report says. "Adams assured her he was only meeting him for dinner and that Breedlove was bringing his boyfriend."
The report does not say where the dinner took place. Yocom told investigators that afterward, Adams "told her not to worry, they had met in a public place and that Breedlove's boyfriend was there and several people saw them in the restaurant."
After WW broke the story in January that Adams and Breedlove indeed had an affair in 2005, Yocom said she confronted Adams. "She told him that she believed he and Breedlove had kissed prior to him turning 18 years old," the report says. She told Adams she could continue to work for him if he would be honest with her about it. Yocom told investigators Adams did not respond.
Yocom also said that in an interview with an unidentified reporter after the story broke, Adams was asked what he thinks the age of consent should be. Yocom told investigators she urged Adams not to answer the question, but that he told the reporter off the record there are 20 states where the age of consent is under 18.
"Yocom was concerned that Adams answered this and had knowledge pertaining to other states' legal age of consent," the AG's report says. "She learned that Washington's age of consent is 16 years of age. Yocom said she feels it is important that this topic be addressed with Breedlove and Adams."
The report says Yocom was visibly upset during the interview.
"She said it is hard for her and other colleagues," the report says. "She said for her sake she felt she needed to address Adams because she was very emotional and angry."
After her interview, Yocom called an investigator to clarify by stating she had no knowledge Adams and Breedlove traveled outside of Oregon. She said she simply wanted the investigation to be "as thorough as possible."
When the story of Adams' possibly inappropriate relationship with Breedlove first surfaced in the media in September 2007, real-estate developer Bob Ball was identified in the news as the source of the rumor.
But where did Ball hear the rumor? The Kroger report reveals for the first time Ball's original source was Gordon Johnston, a volunteer for Adams during his 2004 City Council campaign and, later, an unpaid citizen advocate in Adams' office until 2006.
In his Feb. 27 interview with investigators, Johnston says Adams asked him to keep Breedlove "occupied" during the First Thursday party when Breedlove visited Portland from Salem. Though the date of that First Thursday event is in dispute, Johnston told investigators the incident in question had taken place in June 2005.
Johnston did not see Adams and Breedlove leave the event together since he left early and passed his Breedlove-watching job to another member of Adams' staff, Jane Ames.
The following day, Johnston returned to Adams' office in the afternoon and, according to the Department of Justice report, "noticed the office demeanor was different in that everyone was subdued." He told investigators another staffer, Maria Lim, took Johnston into the break room and shut the door "and told him there had been a serious issue with the 17-year-old who came to the First Thursday event." According to Johnston's interview, Lim had told him Ames had confronted Adams about Breedlove's age and "everyone took it seriously."
According to a Feb. 4 interview with Ball, Johnston told Ball over coffee in July 2007 about Adams and Breedlove. In that same exchange, Ball told investigators Johnston said it was "common knowledge in [Adams'] office that Adams continued to date Breedlove," and that there was a "joking atmosphere" in the office about it.
One of the documents unearthed in the investigation is an Excel spreadsheet from Adams' computer that was prepared in 2007, when the rumors about him and Breedlove became public.
The document details a proposed public-relations strategy that Adams and his allies could use to address any questions about his relationship with Breedlove, which at the time he said was nothing more than mentoring. Above is one page of the spreadsheet, which includes the "areas," or topics, for potential discussion: the message (in one case it is that Adams is the victim), the delivery (through allies such as political consultant Patricia McCaig, Commissioner Randy Leonard, or Basic Rights Oregon) and the medium of communication: i.e., "press."
Apparently Adams did consider resigning immediately after the news broke about him and Breedlove in January of this year. Among the documents that were turned over is a resignation letter, dated Jan. 21, the day after Adams' hasty return from President Obama's inauguration.
"Since I returned to Portland yesterday," Adams wrote in a draft letter turned over to investigators, "I have taken stock of the big mess I have created. I do not need any more time to conclude what is best for Portland. At this time of economic crisis this city can ill afford the distraction it would create if I was to continue on as Mayor so I resign as of 2:00 pm today." In his letter, Adams noted Commissioner Randy Leonard would become interim mayor and thanked Leonard for agreeing to keep Adams' staff on through May. "They are a fantastic group of hard working public servants and they will serve him well."
Beau Breedlove is a puzzle wrapped in an enigma.
In September 2007, I interviewed him three times by phone while he was at his home, then in Michigan, about his relationship with then-Commissioner Sam Adams. Each time, his story differed slightly—enough that I suspected he was lying.
I had no further contact with Breedlove until April 23, 2008, when he posted a cryptic—and public—blog entry on his MySpace page that said in part: "You know that feeling you get when you come to realize that you've probably done something wrong, and although you really wanted and/or needed to do it, you know it probably wasn't the best decision at the time…."
After reading that blog post I called Breedlove, who I learned was waiting tables at Bluehour, the trendy Pearl District restaurant owned by his cousin, Bruce Carey.
We met, beginning an intermittent conversation that would continue, mostly by text message, for months.
At that first meeting, Breedlove told me he had lied in his prior conversations with me. He denied, however, having sex with Adams before he turned 18.
He never changed that story until Jan. 9 of this year, when we again met at Bluehour. I showed Breedlove an anonymous email sent to every Portland newsroom by an anonymous tipster (later identified as a masseur with no role in the Adams saga).
"More happened on the night of the First Thursday party than they have admitted to," the email read. "Specifically, an incident in the men's room after the party."
When I handed Breedlove the email, he paled visibly, said he didn't feel well and went off to the bathroom with his BlackBerry.
When he returned to the table, he noted what I had missed—that he was 17 on the night of the First Thursday event.
So, what happened that night? I asked.
For the first time since we began communicating, Breedlove dodged.
"I can't answer that question," he said, and left the restaurant.
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