For critics of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, Jason Evers - well, we suppose we should call him "John Doe" now - is the gift that keeps on giving.
Evers/Doe is the former Bend regional manager of the OLCC who was exiled to Nyssa, a tiny town near the Idaho border, after behaving like a tinpot dictator toward bar and restaurant proprietors here. His career then continued its downward trajectory. At this writing, he's sitting in a jail cell in Idaho.
It appears that TMWCHJE (The Man Who Called Himself Jason Evers) adopted the identity of a 3-year-old Ohio boy who was murdered 28 years ago. The fraud came to light when the U.S. State Department checked statements he made on a passport application against Ohio state records.
At this point nobody knows who "Evers" really is or why he adopted a phony identity. It would be interesting to find out. People who change their identities usually do it because they did something under their true identity that they want to hide.
But there are other questions that more urgently need answers - one of them being how the OLCC hired "Evers" in the first place and how it let him get away with his charade for so long. Did anybody do more than glance at his resumé? Were any red flags raised - or ignored?
Maybe we can cut the OLCC a little slack on that particular screw-up; after all, "Evers" apparently adopted his phony identity 14 years ago and has been fooling everybody ever since. If he hadn't applied for a passport he might never have been caught.
We're less inclined to go easy on the OLCC for the way it handled "Evers" before his identity problem came to light. He's been causing trouble for the agency and those it regulates for a long time.
"Evers" first displayed his overzealous (some would say "tyrannical") tendencies during his initial stint as an OLCC inspector in Bend. Charges he brought against two establishments here were proven to be lies by the evidence of surveillance cameras.
Did the OLCC fire "Evers," or at least demote him? Nope. It promoted him to regional manager in Bend. And it kept on defending him against increasingly furious complaints from bar and restaurant owners. It took the intervention of the state Justice Department to finally get him out of here. Even then, the OLCC didn't fire him, although some might consider assignment to Nyssa a worse fate.
Throughout the whole "Evers" fiasco, the OLCC displayed a combination of bureaucratic complacency and arrogance that is intolerable in a public agency. Instead of listening to legitimate complaints, it reflexively closed ranks to protect one of its own.
It's safe to assume (we hope) that after this latest revelation "Evers" will no longer be working for the OLCC. But one rogue OLCC agent isn't the real problem. The real problem is a rogue agency.
So with the hope of knocking some sense into the OLCC, we're applying THE BOOT to the anatomical area where its brains appear to reside.