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:
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
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.