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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 11, 2011 12:44 PM. The previous post in this blog was Another dead guy. The next post in this blog is An interview with Ellis McCoy. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

"If the FBI calls, tell your boss"

Portlandia is so funny. Now the city's wet-behind-the-ears transportation director is reportedly telling his bureau employees what to do if they get inquiries about the ongoing FBI investigation into suspected corruption around the city's parking meters. Here are some highlights from his e-mail message to the work force, as reprinted by the O:

* Do not engage in conversations on work time with anyone concerning this matter.

"On work time"? Does that mean that they can blab all they want during their off hours?

Do not to respond to the media or any other request concerning this matter as a representative of the City. If you receive inquiries please refer those to Maureen Yandle, Assistant to the Director.

"As a representative of the City"? Does this mean they can speak freely in their individual capacities?

* Do not release any record related to Mr. McCoy, Parking Operations, or other record concerning this matter....

* If you receive an official request from the FBI, U.S. Attorneys Office, or the IRS please notify your supervisor, who will assist you.

Ya gotta love that one. Don't give up records to anyone -- not even the FBI? If the FBI sends you "an official request," don't fully cooperate and simply tell the truth? No -- "notify your supervisor."

Maybe it's just us, but we smell more going on here than a mid-level bureaucrat with his hand (allegedly) in the till.

Comments (27)

These are basically the same instructions any private corporation would give to their employees in a similar situation. As a lawyer, I would have thought you would know the reasons behind the requests.

Sounds like Portland is taking cues from Dallas after all:

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/dallas/john-wiley-price-shoves-reporters-public-office-134420413.html

About the only difference between the two situations? Out here, we're pretty sure that Price and our new Mayor are going to jail. (John Wiley Price is so crooked that he needs four people to help him screw his pants on every morning, and the only surprise over the last twenty years is to the influence of powerful friends that kept him from going to jail on everything from bribery to rape. This time, though, he's almost definitely going down, and he's taking the mayor with him.)

These are basically the same instructions any private corporation would give to their employees in a similar situation.

hmmm...I thought we were talking about City employees????

These are basically the same instructions any private corporation would give to their employees in a similar situation.

"Basically"?

Wouldn't at least some corporations include "Tell the truth" as part of the message?

This is a criminal investigation. There is no reason not to give the FBI everything it asks for, without clearing it through the boss.

Whoever is shaking this tree would be wise to stand clear from right underneath.

"The City of Portland is cooperating fully with the investigation."

Well, that's the biggest throwaway line from anyone in CoP since Sam's throwing Bob Ball to the wolves.

I find it curious that the mayor was not aware of what was going on until after the raid had started. Do they believe he might be involved?

Well, Miller is a lawyer, by training anyway; not sure if he ever put his degree to use before hitching his wagon to Adams' tarnished star.

Maybe there's some of the reasoning behind all the meaningless middle manager appointees... should the rock ever get lifted up it gives the appointer at the top a chance to claim he didn't know what was going on.

This is a criminal investigation. There is no reason not to give the FBI everything it asks for, without clearing it through the boss.

If the FBI came to my place of business without a subpoena, I think I would be hard-pressed to provide anything without my employers knowledge.

"* If you receive an official request from the FBI, U.S. Attorneys Office, or the IRS please notify your supervisor, who will assist you."

The IRS? Hrmmm. Does this suggest that on top of whatever other crime he may have committed related to the graft, they're thinking the feds are also going to nail him for income tax evasion if he didn't declare his ill-gotten loot?

Well, that's how Capone was brought down.

Besides, the IRS hates competition ;)

Why waste time telling employees what NOT to do? Why not simply say, "If you receive inquiries regarding Mr. McCoy or the ongoing investigation, immediately refer them to XXXXX person or department."

Sheesh.

This is a criminal investigation. There is no reason not to give the FBI everything it asks for

Innocent people who know what's good for them still Don't Talk To The Police.

boycat - The feds toss in IRS violations on top of all white collar financial charges... and they will put spouses on the IRS charges... It's how the Fedz roll.... trust me I have some very close (but not immediate) knowledge of how the First Bunch of Idiots (learned that lovely from a Southern leo) operate.

This operation - both at Portland building and McCoy's home - involved both FBI and IRS agents. They were carried out with subpoenas.

The IRS criminal investigation division gets dragged into all sorts of federal law enforcement, including drug enforcement and even Secret Service details. Often it has nothing to do with violations of the tax laws.

In this case, it's hard to say whether there could be tax issues as well as the obvious.

The usual obvious charge is that you did not pay taxes on your ill gotten gains or that you muffed up on something or other. In the case that I am thinking of, after the FBI arrest, the IRS reopened something that had been settled administratively several years prior but the Feds mouth RICO and forget double jeopardy and a million other things.

Prohibiting employees from disclosing information to the media on company time makes sense; telling employees to talk to their supervisor before giving information to the feds could only come from someone who has something to hide or is just incompetent. If the FBI wants to ask you some questions, that means they want to talk to YOU and not after getting permission from your supervisor. If you provide information that then becomes evidence or testimony disclosed in the courtroom your job and reputation fall under the protection of federal whistleblowing laws.

Miller is in idiot and his email no doubt will raise some eyebrows among the FBI investigators.

These people seem beyond help.

It's mostly a bunch of kids who have no business running anything big at this stage in their lives.

Here's a great quote from p. 175 of Phil Stanford's book, "Portland Confidential," in reference to the aftermath of the U.S. Senate's 1957 hearings on corruption in Portland.

"However, as any sensible person realized at the time, no serious effort could be made to prosecute the corrupt relationships so deeply embedded in both city and county governments without eventually sending half the population to jail..."

Please FBI, exam the corruption involved in Milwaukie Light Rail, Eastside Trolley, Lake Oswego Trolley, and now expanding to the proposed Barbur Blvd/Tigard Light Rail.

I reviewed the definitions applied to corruption and I believe I am on safe grounds to apply the word.

The Fedz could always tack on their recently ubiquitous theft of honest services charges. And given that the villains in this are on the public payroll, it might even make sense.

The IRS criminal investigation division gets dragged into all sorts of federal law enforcement, including drug enforcement and even Secret Service details. Often it has nothing to do with violations of the tax laws.

My initial reaction is that if they involve the IRS apparatus for anything other than a tax-related issue it's an abuse of power. But what do I know? I'm just a standard-issue lawyer.

I don't think the IRS likes it much. But in some outposts like Portland, there simply aren't that many sworn federal officers with badges and guns. When the feds (FBI, ATF, etc.) need extra power, it's all-hands-on-deck.

At least ATF and Secret Service are within Treasury, like the IRS. FBI and ICE? Somewhat different story.

I was collateral damage to the events in W New State. Four months of IRS bulls**t because a relative wrote me a personal check off a business account. And in the end, I owed nothing. They wasted my time, their time, and my employer's time (complexities of changes in the tax code on an already existing 401K after tax program - there was real way to establish basis because prior to the code change all withdrawals up to amount contributed were considered after-taxed contributions. Then they decided withdrawals were part earnings interest and part after-taxed contributions).

And it's beyond belief that you call the IRS's provided phone number and they tell you they don't have a copy of your withholding statement handy for the year they are busting your balls on.

The IRS helped the First Bunch bust a lot of balls in that case. It's why I plainly now disdain the Fedz. Though I had some disdain prior to that set of events.


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