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Sheriff controversy a family affair

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The cousin of Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury is representing a member of the county's Charter Review Commission in a potential lawsuit against Sheriff Dan Staton.

Kafoury asked Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to investigate allegations that Staton requested his staff to collect background information on commission members.

News of the potential lawsuit was first reported on Feb. 23 by Willamette Week, which has published several previous stories critical of Staton. It is co-owned by Roseblum's husband, Richard Meeker.

Staton declined to respond to the potential lawsuit, saying he does not comment on pending litigation.

A tort claim notice on behalf of commission member Barbara Trojan was filed by attorney Jason Kafoury on Feb. 22. It alleges that Trojan suffered stress because Staton directed his staff to collect "full profiles" of commission members, who are considering whether the sheriff should be an appointed instead of elected position.

"Ms. Trojan has stress, fears retaliation and fears her protected private health information and financial information are compromised," Kafoury wrote in the filing.

Staton says the request was made because the county did not provide background information on the commission members when they were reported.

The allegation is among those Kafoury asked Rosenblum to investigate. Records released by Multnomah County reveal the "full profile" consisted of Google searches. No information was turned up on Trojan, according to the records.

After the searches became controversial last year, the Multnomah County Sheriffs Office Information Technology department conducted a review and determined that no confidential law enforcement data bases in the office were accessed. A review by the Oregon State Police found the confidential Law Enforcement Data System was not used for the searches last year, either.

Rosenblum has opened a criminal investigation into Staton on the searches and other allegations, including a sexual harassment complaint by a senior female deputy that was settled.

A previous Portland Tribune story on the issue can be read at http://portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/294460-171410-embattled-multnomah-county-sheriff-defends-work-record.