- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 9, 2016

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Fairbanks Mayor Jim Matherly has announced the city will have to look for a new director of communications now that Kip Harmon has decided not to take the job after reports of his criminal history resurfaced.

Harmon informed the mayor Monday he would rescind his acceptance of the position. In a letter to Matherly, Harmon said he didn’t want to be a distraction.

The News-Miner (https://bit.ly/2eCqcvS) had reported Harmon’s no contest plea to criminal impersonation in 2006 after he agreed to be the communications director Thursday.

“That sparked the interest of a lot of people,” Matherly told the City Council on Monday. He added that he had heard from people who were “concerned about Mr. Harmon.”

Harmon cited the news story in the letter, saying it “brought back a chapter in my life that I am neither proud of, nor do I run from.”

“You have so much positive energy around you, and much to do,” the letter to Matherly states. “I’m afraid that my presence on your team will only distract you from the mission of rebuilding trust within the walls of City Hall, and I refuse to have any negativity from my past cloud your future or that of the city of Fairbanks. You need to keep your energy focused on making Fairbanks a better place instead of defending me.”

More than a decade ago, Harmon was banned from contacting eight women who told authorities he had approached them and commented on their fitness levels. Court documents say he impersonated the late Marianna Komlos, a famous bodybuilder, in emails to the women, some of whom agreed to let Harmon take their measurements.

Amid allegations of harassment in 2004, Harmon resigned from his position as assistant athletic director at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

His misdemeanor conviction for criminal impersonation was set aside after he completed probation in 2007.

Harmon thanked Matherly for selecting him to be the city’s communications director and accepting him as a friend “warts and all.”

Matherly defended Harmon’s character in an interview with the News-Miner last week.

“As a friend and someone in the community, I think he’s built himself back up. He’s been getting his life back on track,” Matherly said.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com


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