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Elections complaint filed in Sandy council race

Brian Adams accused, then exonerated of giving false information for Voters Pamphlet


Brian AdamsAn elections complaint has been filed with Secretary of State Kate Brown’s office against Brian Adams of Sandy. The complaint was filed by business owner Evelyn MacLean of Sandy.

Adams was one of three candidates for Position No. 3 on the Sandy City Council to replace Councilor Dave Beitler, who is retiring from the council.

In election results reported by Clackamas County Elections, Adams won the seat with 1,509 votes over his nearest competitor, Kelly Allen, with 869 votes, and the third candidate in race, Jason Davis, with 378.

Speaking for Secretary of State Brown, Public Information Officer Andrea Cantu-Schomus said the complaint was filed Oct. 22, but when initially contacted Wednesday she would not give any details because an investigation had just begun.

“Information is not available for release,” she said, “until the case is closed.”

But Thursday afternoon, Nov. 8, Adams forwarded to the Post a letter from Alana Cox, a compliance specialist in Brown's office. In that letter, Cox informed Adams that the short investigation was closed, and there was no determination of criminal activity.

If the state investigation had determined there had been criminal activity, the case would have been forwarded to the Department of Justice.

The complaint involved allegedly false information in the Voter’s Pamphlet. In the pamphlet, Adams listed several involvements he has had under the heading of “Prior Governmental Experience.” One of the items in his list is “Governmental Affairs Committee (Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce).”

Adams says the committee is now called the economic improvement committee, and it is under the direction of city staff, not the Chamber of Commerce.

Adams said he was a bit confused at the time of his interview for the committee because he had volunteered through the chamber office for a chamber committee, and he was interviewed in the chamber office for the position, at that time, by Interim Chamber Director Mitch Speck and city of Sandy Economic Development Director Dave Snider.

When Adams attended the first meeting of the committee, he realized the administration of the committee had been shifted from the chamber to the city, and its name had been changed.

At that point, he said, it was too late to change the description that was being printed in the Oregon Voter’s Pamphlet. So he changed all of his campaign literature to reflect the committee’s new name.

Adam’s statements are supported by Speck, who sent a letter to the state office Wednesday explaining the details of the timing of the administrative shift from chamber to city and the name change.

Adams said he suspects his nearest opponent, Kelly Allen, had something to do with seeing that the complaint was filed.

Allen, however, denied that he was involved with filing the complaint.

“(Filing the complaint) wasn’t me or my campaign,” Allen said. “My campaign consists of me and my wife (Laura).”

Speck confirmed to Adams and to the Post that he had received an email request from Allen soon after the Voter’s Pamphlets were received, asking for copies of meeting minutes of the chamber’s (inactive) Governmental Affairs Committee. Of course, without meetings, there were no minutes to send.

“When I got that email,” Speck said, “I remember commenting to (Chamber Office Manager Karey Milne) saying, ‘He (Allen) knows we don’t have this active committee right now; why is he asking me for this?’ ”

In Speck's letter to the Secretary of State's office, he confirmed that prior to recruitment to reactivate the committee he had discussed that possibility with Chamber Board Chairwoman Laura Allen, who agreed it was a good idea.

The interviews proceeded at the chamber office, but by the time of the committee’s first meeting, Speck told the Post, it had been decided to allow the city’s new economic development director — Dave Snider — to be the administrator, instead of anyone from chamber staff.

“(Adams) wasn’t aware of that until after the first meeting of the committee,” Speck said.

And then, Adams said, it was too late to change information submitted for the Voter’s Pamphlet.

After reviewing the findings of the short investigation, in Cox's letter she states that Adams did not violate any election rules.

"Not finding a violation of election law," she wrote Thursday afternoon, "the Elections Division determines this investigation is closed and does not intend to pursue this matter further."

MacLean defends her action in filing the complaint, saying she thought Adams' statement was misleading.

"As a business owner, a community member and a member of the Chamber of Commerce," MacLean said, "I felt it was misleading for Brian to state under "prior experience" that he had served on a committee that had yet to be functioning.

"I care about city government, how local businesses are impacted by decisions the City Council makes and the general well being of our city. I told Brian during our conversation (Friday) that I wish him the very best in his position on the City Council."