Adams defends himself in wake of allegations

Adams defends himself in wake of allegations »Play Video
KATU News reporter Brian Barker asks Commissioner Sam Adams about his handling of a relationship with a teen.

PORTLAND, Ore. - Commissioner Sam Adams on Tuesday fought back against rumors that he had an inappropriate relationship with a teenage boy several years ago, calling such allegations "dirty politics."

Questions recently surfaced about his relationship with the then 17-year-old, whom Adams said was just a boy looking for a mentor.

Adams, who is gay, said the boy, who is also gay, came to him for advice and they went to dinner and exchanged text messages but the two were never alone together.

The allegations, which were first reported online by Willamette Week, came from Portland land developer Robert Ball. He told KATU News Tuesday that someone close to Adams told him certain things about the relationship that disturbed Ball greatly.

Ball said he consulted his attorney, who told him to tell a city official. So Ball went to Portland Commissioner Randy Leonard and former Mayor Vera Katz with the information. Both talked to Adams and then decided the allegations were not true.

Adams said the boy, who is now 20, came to him for advice about being a gay politician and that he simply acted as a mentor. Any suggestion that it was something else is an attempt at political assassination, Adams said.

Though neither man has officially announced their candidacy, Ball is considering running for Portland mayor and Adams is considered a front-runner in the race.

Ball denied that he was trying to smear Adams, saying "the only thing it could do is hurt both of us, and why would I want to do that?"

When KATU News on Tuesday asked whether Adams would handle the situation the same now as he did then, Adams said yes.

"Absolutely because anything else means that I'm going to concede that somehow gay adult males cannot be trusted with gay minors," Adams said. "And I'm not going to concede that. That's about homophobia. And, you know, we are trustworthy."