photo by Matt Davis

"AT THIS TIME of economic crisis this city can ill afford the distraction it would create if I was to continue on as mayor, so I resign," wrote Mayor Sam Adams, in a letter to Portlanders dated January 21—the morning after his public apology at city hall.

Adams never sent the letter. But investigators working for Attorney General John Kroger discovered it on his laptop during a five-month investigation which wrapped up Monday, June 22, after concluding there was "insufficient evidence" to charge the mayor with a crime in regard to the Beau Breedlove scandal. Breedlove's conflicting statements about kissing Adams in a city hall restroom at 17, not to mention his decision to take money to pose for Unzipped magazine, dented his credibility, Kroger said.

"Having worked closely with Randy Leonard for many years I know he will do a great job as interim mayor," Adams' resignation letter continued, giving Portlanders a glimpse into a strange alternate reality of what could have been. Similarly, Adams must now also be contemplating what his own political career might have been like, if only he had never met Breedlove back in 2005.

"I welcome the report—the investigation was thorough, tough, but objective," Adams said, at a stony-faced meeting with the Mercury on Monday afternoon. Adams' fellow City Commissioners Leonard and Nick Fish said they hoped the verdict means Portlanders can now "move on."

But Kroger's report does bring two lurid new pieces of information to light that will continue to serve as footnotes to Adams' future political achievements. First: Adams paid Breedlove $750 in cash "loans" in late 2008, the investigation found. Adams denied that those payments—purportedly for a car payment and an apartment down payment—had anything to do with Breedlove's earlier agreement not to tell reporters that he and Adams had sex.

Second: Attorneys working for Adams showed up on Breedlove's doorstep the night Adams wrote his resignation letter, and the next day asked Breedlove to sign a statement saying he did not kiss or have sexual contact with the mayor before he turned 18. After calling Adams, Breedlove signed the statement. But later, Breedlove told the Oregonian and investigators that he had kissed Adams in a city hall restroom, when he was still 17. Kroger cited those conflicting stories as undermining Breedlove's credibility as a witness.

Investigators also dug up two earlier bizarre situations where Breedlove made allegations of sexual abuse, but no one could back up his story. In 2003, according to a police report in Kroger's file, Breedlove told Salem police officers that a friend of his had been given alcohol and was "touched on the penis" by some older guys after a meeting of a Rainbow Youth group.

"Breedlove did not want to be identified as the complainant," wrote the officer—meanwhile Breedlove's friend subsequently denied the claims, saying there had been "just kissing," and no alcohol involved.

Then during the 2005 weekend when he slept with Adams, Breedlove called Adams in hysterics saying that Adams' "on-and-off date" John Vezina had made sexual advances on Breedlove while he waited for his train back to Salem. Vezina denied Breedlove's claims, saying Breedlove had become upset when Vezina told him he and Adams were still dating.

Breedlove also contacted former Mercury News Editor Amy Ruiz in December 2007 on an anonymous basis, encouraging her to look again at the facts in the case.

"I don't want my identity to be revealed," he wrote. "I know for a fact that Beau and Sam had a relationship. I think it should be look [sic] at more, because Sam is a public official and shouldn't lie to his constituents," the note said.

Breedlove has subsequently confirmed to Kroger's investigators that he authored the note, and is no longer considered a confidential source by the Mercury.

"My son has always believed that he was not a victim in 2005," wrote Breedlove's mother Gwen Roseler, in an open letter to Oregonians on Tuesday, June 23. "But I believe he's a victim now."

Besides Breedlove's mother, there was also a palpable air of disappointment among journalists at Kroger's press conference on Monday, when the attorney general explained—with a straightforward and professional tone—why he would not be going forward with criminal charges against Adams.

But while Kroger and city commissioners are apparently moving on, the media, at least, won't be letting go of the story so easily. Oregonian and KOIN reporters staked out Breedlove's Portland home Monday night, and Tuesday morning the Oregonian ran the headline "Thicket of Lies Sank Adams Case" over a contrite photo of the mayor.

Indeed, it appears as if the paper—which has been vociferously calling for Adams' resignation, and can't be happy with the final result of Kroger's investigation—would like to create an alternate reality of its own.