An Oregon Department of Justice investigation is now adding to the melee in Clackamas County.
The DOJ confirmed it is conducting an investigation, although spokesman Jeff Manning declined to give details.
Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas tells WW that he filed the request for an investigation.
The investigation centers around allegations made by County Chairman John Ludlow, who
accused County Administrator Steve Wheeler of financial mismanagement of
(The letter followed months of planning between Ludlow and
former county attorney Scott Sideras, a bar complaint alleges).
Savas declined to comment except to say, “I can confirm that I made a report to the Department
of Justice to clear up any allegations that may have come to my attention.”
The day he took office Ludlow handed Wheeler a letter that
accused him of financial mismanagement and other failings. Ludlow pointed to
the county’s Sunnybrook building as a prime example.
The Sunnybrook Building was constructed at 9010 SE
Sunnybrook Blvd in 1999, and it originally hosted county administrative
buildings. But when those were moved in 2008 and 2009, the county transferred
the building to the sheriff’s department to use.
However, as the Oregonian reported in 2012, a separate government entity, the Clackamas County Service District No. 1, had a stake in the building’s ownership, too. The county now is paying the district $1,949,843 to buy it out.
“The matter of the misspent restricted funds stands
unaddressed and may a continuing violation of local election law,” Ludlow
wrote to Wheeler.
Records released to WW and The Oregonian show that Ludlow worked prior to taking office with Sideras and another private lawyer to draft the letter asking Wheeler to step down. County Counsel Stephen Madkour fired Sideras for his role, and later filed state bar and ethics complaints.