Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith today filed a tort claim notice against the county, seeking to halt a county investigation into allegations made against her by two former Smith staffers.

The tort claim notice, first reported by The Skanner, demands that county officials, including Chair Deborah Kafoury, "cease and desist in their investigation into the unwarranted allegations of two disgruntled former employees."

Ironically, it was Smith herself who first asked the county to investigate, after WW reported the first complaint against Smith.

Here's the statement Smith issued to WW on Feb. 3:

Last week I notified the Secretary of State’s office of a complaint my office received from an employee. I have proactively requested a review of this complaint by the Secretary of State because I’m fully confident that I acted appropriately and that the complaint has no merit. Additionally I asked that the County Human Resources department do an inquiry into this matter.

I will make myself available for whatever might be needed during these inquiries.

When I first announced my bid for this office back in 2010, I promised to make sure that our senior citizens are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, that our kids have a safe place to live and to grow, and that our community has the opportunity to work and prosper.

My only desire is to serve the public to the best of my ability. I take seriously the trust the public has placed in me and I work hard every day to serve my constituents. I look forward to the resolution of this matter.
That statement came after a Smith aide named MeeSeon Kwon filed a complaint against Smith, alleging that Smith had misused campaign funds and been abusive to staff members.
According to the tort claim, the county subsequently paid Kwon a $23,000 settlement but the results of a county human resources investigation have not yet been released.
Smith’s attorney, Craig Crispin, says in the tort claim notice that the county’s investigation of Smith was “prompted by racially biased and political motives.”
(It’s perhaps worth noting that both of the staffers who complained about Smith are women of color.)
The political motive, Crispin says, is Kafoury’s fear of potentially having to run against Smith next year.
“No rational explanation exists for the Chair’s actions except to interfere with Commissioner Smith’s right to participate in the political process and malign the character of a popular political rival prior to the 2018 election for County
Chair,” Crispin writes.
Term limits prevent Smith, who is mid-way through her second four-year term, from seeking re-election. There has been speculation she’s eying a run for city council but the tort claim notice is the first public announcement she may instead run for chair next year.