Whistleblower Lawsuit Settles Against State of Oregon For $286K
The state technology manager who leaked former Gov. John Kitzhaber’s emails to a reporter has agreed to resign in exchange for a $286,000 settlement with the state of Oregon.
In the deal finalized last week, Michael Rodgers agreed not to sue the state.
A lawyer for Rodgers filed notice in July that he intended to sue, accusing the state of subjecting him to “investigations without proper notice and an opportunity for a hearing,” according to the Oregonian. He pointed to “published reports containing false and stigmatizing statements” about Rodgers’ placement on leave.
In addition to the $286,000 payment, Rodgers also will keep his health insurance through the end of the year and will be paid out for 300 hours of accumulated vacation time. His attorney, Steven Brischetto, will get $12,158.12.
Until he quit, Rodgers was on leave from his job as the state’s interim enterprise technology administrator. He acknowledged giving 6,000 emails from Kitzhaber’s personal Gmail account to a reporter for Willamette Week days before Kitzhaber resigned in February.
When he decided to reveal his identity months later, Rodgers told the newspaper that he was concerned Kitzhaber and his loyalists would have the emails deleted, potentially destroying public records or evidence in a criminal investigation.
Kitzhaber did not use a state email account. Instead, he used a Gmail account for official business and other private accounts to communicate with his family, friends and campaign staff. His lawyers have said he intended to have the official Gmail account archived on state servers in order to comply with public records laws, but the personal account was inadvertently archived as well.
When a staffer for Kitzhaber inquired about deleting the personal emails, Rodgers balked.
Prosecutors from Marion and Yamhill counties said in June that they believed Rodgers committed a crime when he released Kitzhaber’s emails. But they said “justice would not be served” by charging him.
Article By: Jonathan S. Cooper, Associates Press, Visit: www.kgw.com