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Deputy director’s complaint against housing authority dismissed

Complaint listed range of issues, including mismanagement of public funds
By Jack Heffernan

The Daily Astorian

Published on December 6, 2018 8:27AM

Complaints against the executive director of the Northwest Oregon Housing Authority have been dismissed.

Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian

Complaints against the executive director of the Northwest Oregon Housing Authority have been dismissed.

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The state Bureau of Labor and Industries has dismissed a complaint lodged against the Northwest Oregon Housing Authority by the agency’s deputy director.

Teresa Sims, who has been on paid leave since May, filed the complaint in August, detailing a long list of issues with Todd Johnston, the agency’s director. Sims is being investigated by the agency for actions she’s taken at work.

Issues listed in the complaint included claims that Johnston promoted an employee who wasn’t qualified for the position, obscured information and that he and Helping Hands — a nonprofit that works with the homeless — mismanaged public funds and created a fear of retaliation against those who reported problems.

Investigators for the agency refuted the claims in a report released in October. The report stated that many of the claims failed to match up with emails and other records, as well as other people’s recollections.

A letter sent to Sims from the state last week said it did not find sufficient evidence to substantiate the claims.

“We’re happy, I’m happy that this was dismissed,” Johnston said. “We knew that the claims were false, so we were confident that this would be the outcome.”

Krista Le Roux, Sims’ Portland-based attorney, said she plans to file a defamation lawsuit in Circuit Court this week regarding some of the information provided to investigators. She declined to discuss specifics of the state’s findings as she awaits more information.

“They won’t state an actual reason why,” Le Roux said. “We’re left in the dark.”

Sims can still file a lawsuit based on the claims in Circuit Court within 90 days of last week’s letter from the state. She is considering it but has not made a final decision, Le Roux said.

Meanwhile, an outside firm is finalizing its investigation into Sims on behalf of the housing authority, Johnston said. Investigators plan to speak to Sims one more time and finish the probe by Christmas.


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