If Roger Thompson had a shred of decency he would apologize to this community and resign from the Port of Brookings Harbor as a commissioner.
Thompson is corrupt. He admitted his corruption when he cut a deal with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission to avoid fines that could have totaled as much as $15,000.
Instead, Thompson is trying to spin what amounts to a plea bargain as a simple mistake on his part and not a conviction of corrupt behavior.
Don’t buy it.
Here are the facts. Or as the state ethics commission notes, the “preponderance of evidence in support” of establishing Thompson broke the law and would lose at any kind of fair hearing:
•Thompson’s first official act as a port commissioner was to abuse his public trust by trying to enrich himself at taxpayer expense. On July 7, 2015, Thompson had himself sworn into office during a secret board meeting. The sole purpose of this secret meeting was for Thompson to demand he be allowed to buy two vacant buildings in the port at a price below their actual worth. No public notice. No chance for a reputable person or business to submit any competing bids.
•For two consecutive years, 2016 and 2017, Thompson cooked his required statement of economic interest, trying to hide his business and personal relationship with girlfriend Angi Christian, owner of ABC Creations. Christian, now serving as chair of the port commission, was at the time getting a special rent deal — less than half what others in the port were paying — to sell and store her goods in one of the two buildings boyfriend Thompson would later try buying on the sly.
These are just the corrupt admissions by Thompson the state ethics commission has jurisdiction to enforce. You see, a month prior to his secret swearing in, Thompson engaged in yet another corrupt act.
Then-commissioner elect Thompson accompanied his then-girlfriend Christian to a June 4, 2015, meeting with then-Port Manager Ted Fitzgerald. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss renting one of two empty buildings formerly occupied by Tidewinds Charter.
They then cut a deal that Christian would pay $120 a month rent. Again, half what other businesses in the port were paying.
The ethics commission notes no copies of any written lease have ever been found. And that’s because the secret deal was sealed on a handshake with Thompson wielding his political influence to cut his girlfriend a deal and shakedown the taxpayers.
But because Thompson wasn’t sworn in yet, the ethics commission didn’t have jurisdiction and couldn’t slap him with another blatant violation.
What we have here is a documented pattern in Thompson’s behavior. He no longer deserves to hold a position of public trust because Thompson has shown he cannot be trusted.
Thompson is corrupt. He is a smear on the face of one of this community’s jewels — the Port of Brookings Harbor. Nothing will change as long as Thompson and his ilk remain in positions of power at the port.
Thompson needs to go.
Editorials are the opinion of the Curry Coastal Pilot Editorial Board, consisting of Publisher Kim Fowler, Editor-in-Chief Robin Fornoff and Senior Reporter Jane Stebbins.