When Attorney General John Kroger released
the results yesterday of an investigation into former Department of Public Safety Standards and Training director John Minnis, Minnis attorney Michael Staropoli was unavailable for comment at press time
Staropoli has now provided the following statement on behalf of Minnis, who resigned his state post Nov. 24:
Mr. Minnis cooperated fully with the Department of Justice investigation. He was both forthright and candid with investigators.
Mr. Minnis voluntarily resigned his position at the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training and similarly agreed to relinquish his [law enforcement] certification. He undertook these actions in hopes that the agency can effectively move forward and continue its strong contributions to the well being of Oregon's public safety employees and the security of its citizens.
Some of the documents released by the AG and governor's office provide some clarification of exactly how voluntary Minnis' resignation was and how "fully" he cooperated.
On the morning of Nov. 23, the female DPSST employee whom Minnis allegedly harrassed told Minnis's deputy, Eriks Gabliks, about the matter. The employee presented Gabliks with an incriminating tape recording of a phone call between her and Minnis. Gabliks informed Gov. Ted Kulongoski's office and the AG's office, prompting an immediate investigation.
At 3:26 pm that day, Minnis sent DPSST staff an email, notifying them he was retiring effective Jan. 1, 2010. But the governor rejected that offer.
On Nov. 24 at 1:02 pm, Kulongoski's chief of staff, Chip Terhune, sent Minnis an email:
I am writing at the direction of the Governor to let you know that he does not accept your resignation on a prospective date, as referenced in your letter of November 23, 2009. The Governor is willing to accept your resignation effective 4:30 today. If you choose not to resign effective 4:30 pm today, the Governor may excercise his discretion as provided by statute to end your employment.
Minnis took Terhune's advice.
As for how fully Minnis cooperated, a memo written by AG's investigator Robert Culley provides a slightly different story than Staropoli's account.
On Nov. 23, just hours after the woman made the allegations against Minnis, Culley interviewed the woman. Culley then went to the DPSST office in Salem in hopes of interviewing Minnis. Here's what happened next, according to Culley's Nov. 23 memo:
While we were meeting [with other investigators] in the parking lot in front of the main building at DPSST, I received a phone call from [Deputy DPSST Director Eriks] Gabliks. He informed me that Minnis was moving personal items from his office and placing them in his private vehicle in the back parking lot of the building...Gabliks also informed me that he felt that Minnis was going to be leaving the building and that any effort to contact him should occur as soon as possible. I had obtained the number of Minnis' cell phone and called him. When he answered, I identified myself and asked if he would make some time available for a meeting. Minnis said that he was already on the 'highway' and was unable to meet. I volunteered that we were currently in the front parking lot of the campus near the guard post and I believed he was still in the parking area at the rear of the building. At that time, Minnis became silent and I asked him to wait where he was until we could contact him. [We] drove to the back of the building and contacted Minnis at his vehicle.