A Brookings minister is alleging a supporter of Chris Paasch altered financial documents and posted them on social media to hurt Paasch’s opponent — Jeri Lynn Thompson — in the Nov. 6 Curry County Board of Commissioners election.
Pastor Josh Farmer of the Brookings Church of the Nazarene filed a complaint Oct. 17 with Brookings police alleging Andre Bay altered the documents after obtaining them from him under false pretenses.
The documents make it appear Thompson was paid $7,000 in Chetco Bar Fire funds for fire damage at her ranch. Farmer’s complaint to police notes, “I can tell you that we only issued two checks from CBF funds for the total of $2,325.38.”
Bay is a former candidate for county commissioner who withdrew in May, throwing his support to Paasch.
Bay did not respond to several attempts to reach him for on the record comments. He told the Pilot on Friday that he would only speak off the record.
Thompson couldn’t be reached for comment on Tuesday.
The issue extends back a year, when the Chetco Bar Fire scorched almost 200,000 acres in the backcountry surrounding the area.
Various entities pulled together to help those affected, with one group discussing anticipated donations that would be sent to help those affected by the fire.
The Wild Rivers Community Foundation recommended having Bay and Gold Beach resident Summer Matteson-Kinney collect the names and list of needs of those affected by fire, and work with Farmer’s Nazarene church. The church was picked because it has a system whereby it collects donations for various causes, evaluates applications and distributes money accordingly.
Most of the money was distributed in the past year. But Farmer said in his complaint to police the church still had a balance of just more than $9,700 designated for fire victims. He called Bay to ask him for another list of names so the church could distribute them.
In the next week, Farmer learned there were three Chetco Bar Fire fund recipients who hadn’t received all the money they’d been granted; Bay asked to see paperwork on two of those to ensure the group wasn’t doubling up in the funds meted out.
“I agreed because I wanted to make sure we were doing everything correctly and that no funds were misused,” Farmer said in his complaint to police.
On Oct. 16, Farmer said, Bay arrived at the Nazarene church with a man later identified as Paasch, who told the Pilot Tuesday that he was giving Bay a ride.
Bay threw his support behind Paasch’s run for the county commissioner seat after he pulled his own name from the running in May. The two were also involved in an incident at a Harbor man’s home during which Paasch tried to have a transient evicted from the man’s house. Bay filmed the incident, which many in the community called “vigilante justice.”
Paasch said Tuesday he had nothing to do with the paperwork Bay retrieved from the church Oct. 16.
“I wanted to meet the pastor,” Paasch said. “I’m a legal pastor, and I wanted to invite his youth group to our rodeo. I told him if they wanted to come up, I’d love them to come. Any time I get the chance to introduce my (Hope and Faith) foundation to anybody, I do.
“I don’t know how I got dragged into this,” Paasch said. “Andre and I need to stop hanging out.”
Farmer said in the police report the next time he saw the documents — on social media — one had been altered, with “PAID $7000” hand printed at the bottom.
The document was an estimate for the cost of a solar system, submitted by Thompson, to replace a power-generating system destroyed in the Chetco Bar.
“Upon identifying the applicants, Andre removed the documents containing personal information (addresses, phone numbers, the amount requested and what it was for),” Farmer wrote in his complaint. “I have reviewed the picture of the form from Jeri Lynn Thompson and it has been altered after it was removed from my office and then published on social media.”
Farmer, who declined comment about the incident, said in the police report the document did not have that alteration when he gave it to Bay. Paasch said he did not see Bay alter the document in the vehicle.