A lengthy and highly charged email went out to members of the media Thursday, alleging misconduct, illegal use of campaign funds and city office time, and the suspicious firing of several staffers from Councilman Cris Medina's office.
Medina told TPR during a phone conversation following the release of the email that he's looking into pressing criminal charges against the still-unknown writer of that email for impersonating him because it appeared to originate from the councilman himself.
The subject reads: "ATTN: Former City Council Aide Details Councilman Cris Medina's Use of Office" and begins by saying, "As a female staff member... I feel it is my duty to release information that confirms shadows of impropriety that plague Medina's tenure..."
The email contains six sections that range from "Illegal payments" to "Council employees demanded to perform campaign-related duties on city time in fear of losing job." The allegations are so broad that TPR is not detailing them just yet until the claims can be verified.
But Medina is denying everything and spoke openly about it by phone Thursday evening.
"This is, unfortunately, a case of a political high jinks 101," he said. "This person has really done a disservice. They have online impersonated me with my name in a fictitious email that's coming from me. That's a criminal offense."
That statement carries several meanings. First, a case of political high jinks for Medina translates into someone who may be trying to ruin his reputation just before the council picks an interim mayor; since he's interested in the position. He thinks the email may be tied to that.
Secondly, Medina said he has talked to police chief William McManus and is exploring legal avenues against the anonymous writer.
"They are in a world of trouble and shame on them for thinking they could spread these lies and accusations on me and then claim to be a staffer from my office," he said. "It's despicable. It's something that I'm even embarrassed to have to comment on."
TPR will continue to monitor developments to this story.
Medina said, "When you know the truth, you feel compelled to speak about it." Later, he said his attorney wished for him not to speak to anyone about the case.