One hundred workdays into his term as mayor, Sam Adams is still struggling to shake the media's obsession with the Beau Breedlove scandal. My well-worn copy of May's Unzipped magazine notwithstanding, I would personally love to let the whole issue go and focus on city policy... were it not for more news suggesting Adams continued to lie to get himself out of trouble after admitting to sleeping with the teen.
Adams' former Communications Director Wade Nkrumah filed notice of his intent to sue the city last week, alleging that Adams damaged his professional reputation by telling a TV reporter Nkrumah had quit because the job "was not what he had signed up for in terms of stress."
Not exactly accurate, according to Nkrumah. "Wade specifically told Sam Adams that he was resigning because of the lies about the teen," read a statement by Nkrumah's attorney, Michael Hanlon.
Nkrumah quit the mayor's office on January 26, a week after his boss admitted to Willamette Week that he had lied during an earlier interview with the paper on January 15 about the nature of his relationship with Breedlove. At the time, Nkrumah—a former 20-year veteran Oregonian reporter—did not return our calls seeking comment on his resignation. Now his threatened lawsuit seems as much about setting the record straight as it does about the $160,000 in damages being sought.
Nkrumah asked Adams whether there had been any "flirting" or "touching" with Breedlove before he turned 18 years old at a meeting at Adams' chief of staff's house, on January 22, according to the tort claim. "Adams answered unequivocally 'no,'" says the tort claim, despite Adams having promised to "candidly" answer questions from staff. Then on January 25, Breedlove told the Oregonian he and Adams had kissed twice when he was 17. Later, public records requests showed Adams had called Breedlove 33 times while he was a minor.
Adams' office says it will let the city attorney's office handle the claim. But it seems pretty watertight, and then there's the question of who pays for it, should Nkrumah prevail. The mayor has said he would step down if the scandal impacted city business, so why should taxpayers now have to stump up all that money, plus attorney's fees?
I doubt Adams has the money sitting around to do the right thing and pay the claim, either. Now he's probably thinking this isn't the job he signed up for in terms of stress. Burrrrrrrn!