Brookings Harbor Port Commissioner Roger Thompson has been found guilty of a conflict of interest and will be issued a letter of reprimand by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission.
The state commission concluded Thompson violated laws applicable to public officials, acting on a complaint filed by former Port Manager Ted Fitzgerald in April 2017.
The complaint accused Thompson of violating provisions of ORS 244 regarding conflicts of interest.
ORS 244.040 states a public official may not use or attempt to use official position or office to obtain financial gain or avoidance of financial detriment for the public official, a relative or member of the household of the public official, or any business with which the public official or a relative or member of the household of the public official is associated.
A Stipulated Final Order (SFO) recently delivered to Thompson from OREC but dated Nov. 17, 2017 found Thompson did offer to purchase two recently vacated buildings located on Port property during an executive session of a port meeting where he was acting as a commissioner.
According to OREC, those actions constituted a violation of ORS 244.040.
Thompson said he had only been sworn in as a commissioner that night.
“I suspect this will be seen as a simple mistake made by a new official. The whole thing was blown out of proportion,” Thompson said.
Thompson also amended his statement of economic interest (SEI) for 2016 and 2017 to include a business name under which his then-girlfriend and household member did business — port Chair Angi Christian, owner of ABC Creations.
Thompson’s original failures to disclose the name of a business owned by a household member constituted 2 violations of ORS 244.060.
Thompson called the omissions remarkably common mistakes and said the question about household members followed a question about household members or businesses contributing 10 percent or more of income.
Thompson said he didn’t add Christian at the time because her business didn’t contribute to his income.
OREC has ordered that, in lieu of a civil penalty, Thompson will be issued a “letter of education” to settle the matter.
Reach Boyd C. Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org