Multnomah County emails reveal relationship

PORTLAND — Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen used his government computer to send hundreds of email messages, some unrelated to work, to a county employee with whom he has acknowledged having a long-term affair.

The county released 687 pages of email correspondence Friday in response to a public records request. The messages are generally about work, though some include flirtations and smiley emoticons that reflect the closeness of the relationship. The emails also reveal the two making plans for lunch, frequently complimenting each other and attending a rock concert with Cogen's son.

Cogen, 51, has made no public comments since confessing to reporters Tuesday that he had an affair with 40-year-old Sonia Manhas, a Health Department manager who got a promotion last year to director of policy and planning.

Cogen said he did not pull any strings to help Manhas get the new position. But Manhas' application listed Cogen as one of her two references.

The county attorney is investigating whether the relationship, which was revealed in an anonymous email to county employees, violated any laws. Cogen told reporters he does not supervise Manhas. He said the affair is over, and he does not plan to quit.

Cogen and Manhas are both married with two children.The pair often complimented each other on their work and achievements. It does not appear that any of the emails are about sex.


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