A former state agency head has filed a lawsuit against Oregon Attorney General John Kroger over his department's botched investigation into contract money parceled out to a company co-owned by the governor's companion.
Mark Long filed the lawsuit Thursday, claiming Kroger and one of his top lieutenants, Sean Riddell, violated his constitutional rights and destroyed documents and tampered with witnesses. It seeks $7.5 million from Kroger, Riddell and the Oregon Department of Justice, The Oregonian reported ( http://is.gd/5pt79B ).
Kroger and the Justice Department declined to comment on the case, as did Riddell, who left the Department of Justice last month. Kroger has only days left in office until he leaves to become president of Reed College.
Long was interim head of the state Energy Department when a $60,000 contract was awarded to a company co-owned by Cylvia Hayes, Gov. John Kitzhaber's companion.
Long is represented by former Attorney General David Frohnmayer and William Gary, who have already filed one lawsuit on the matter. In April, a Marion County judge ruled in favor of Long that Kroger's department improperly withheld documents.
Riddell and the Justice Department began investigating suspected favorable treatment of Hayes' company in August 2010, months before Kitzhaber was elected governor. Long and three other department staffers were put on paid administrative leave for months during the investigation.
The Justice Department ultimately dropped the case, filing no charges. Kroger has acknowledged it was handled poorly.
The employees, who were rehired after months of uncertainty, threatened to sue the state. They entered into mediation last fall, which is ongoing, but Long left the settlement negotiations.
Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com