Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen
and the county employee with whom he had an affair were scheduled to have a private lunch today, even though Cogen claims their relationship ended two months ago.
has learned that Cogen, on July 11
, personally entered the lunch with Sonia Manhas
, the county’s health department planning and policy director, on his calendar.
He removed the lunch plans from his calendar
on the afternoon of July 15
, a day before he admitted having the relationship.
Cogen has claimed he does not directly supervise Manhas. Cogen did not respond to WW
’s questions as to why he would schedule the one-on-one lunch with her—and then cancel it—if the affair was indeed over, and if he does not supervise Manhas. Manhas also declined to respond to WW
presented information to county officials about Cogen’s calendar and his plans to see Manhas today.
When asked to verify information about Cogen’s calendar, Multnomah County spokesman David Austin checked Cogan’s electronic schedule and confirmed that the two were planning to have lunch.
“Lunch with her was scheduled on his calendar for today,” Austin says. “It was a 60-minute lunch that he scheduled himself.”
Austin says records show that, at 2:34 pm on Monday, Cogen deleted the lunch from his calendar.
That deletion came hours after county commissioners received an anonymous email titled “Inappropriate behavior by Chair Cogen.”
“Employees at Multnomah County have spotted Chair Cogen kissing Sonia Manhas
in front of the Kenton Library and in a booth and at a bar in Portland
along with a few other ‘sightings,’” the email said.
In the Tuesday night interview, Cogen admitted the affair but his denied the relationship violated county rules against a supervisor having an intimate relationship with a subordinate.
Cogen also may have continued to communicate with Manhas on his personal time, even after he says the affair was over.
Cogen said on Tuesday, for example, that he had taken his family to Vancouver, B.C., over the July 4th holiday and said that Manhas also traveled to Vancouver for the holiday.
He denied seeing Manhas during that trip or talking to her on the phone. But when asked whether he texted her or communicated with her electronically, Cogen hesitated. “I don’t know,” he said.