Head of Phoenix DEA in trouble for inappropriate relationship

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The head of the Phoenix Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration faces discipline for what is being described as an “unprofessional personal relationship” with a subordinate.

Phoenix DEA Special Agent in Charge Douglas Coleman was the subject of an investigation by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General.

The OIG launched the investigation after receiving information that, among other things, Coleman engaged in misconduct by having an inappropriate romantic relationship with his administrative assistant and division spokeswoman, Erica Curry.

Arizona’s Family received a copy of a heavily redacted synopsis of the OIG’s investigation.

The report states that “While there was circumstantial evidence of a romantic relationship between them, the OIG did not find actual evidence of an intimate relationship.”

The OIG did find that the close relationship between Coleman and Curry, was unprofessional, given she was his subordinate. The report indicates both admitted to being “best friends.”

The OIG also found that the relationship created the appearance of favoritism as it related to bonuses Curry received, promotional opportunities she was given and other accommodations for Curry, such as teleworking.

Coleman’s conduct, according to the report, violated DEA policy including misuse of office and failing to maintain high standards of personal conduct as an example to employees.

In addition, the OIG believes travel expenses incurred by Coleman and Curry for a travel assignment, were wasteful because, according to the report, their participation at the alleged work event did not appear “necessary, or consistent with the field division’s practice.”

The OIG’s report was provided to the DEA for appropriate action. According to a spokeswoman from DEA headquarters in Washington, D.C., “The matter remains ongoing within the DEA disciplinary system and we cannot comment at this time.”

It’s unclear what discipline Coleman could face. Both he and Curry remain in their current positions with the Phoenix Division of the DEA.

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Donna RossiEmmy Award-winning reporter Donna Rossi joined CBS 5 News in September 1994.

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Donna Rossi

In that time, Donna has covered some of the most high-profile stories in the Valley and across the state. Donna's experience as a four-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department gives her a keen sense of crime and court stories. She offered gavel to gavel coverage of the 1999 sleepwalking murder trial of Scott Falater, and the trial and conviction of retired Catholic Bishop Thomas O'Brien for a fatal hit and run accident. She also spent 2 straight weeks in northeastern Arizona in the summer of 2011 covering the Wallow Fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history.

Donna's reputation as a fair and accurate journalist has earned her the respect of her colleagues and community. Her talent as a reporter has earned her more than a dozen Arizona Associated Press Awards and five Emmy statue.

Donna previously worked as an anchor and reporter in Tucson and got her start in broadcast journalism in Flagstaff. Donna is a past president of the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently serves on the NATAS board. She is a member of IFP/Phoenix, a non-profit organization of local film and documentary makers.

Donna was born in New York and moved to the Valley with her family when she was 9 years old. She is a graduate of Maryvale High School and attended Arizona State University. She graduated cum laude from Northern Arizona University.

In her free time, Donna enjoys boating on Bartlett Lake, all forms of music and theatre. Donna frequently donates her time to speak to community organizations and emcee their events. She is a past board member of DUET, a non-profit which helps promote health and well-being for older adults. Donna also loves donating her time to youth organizations and groups who work to secure and safeguard human rights.

On Oct. 17, 2015, Donna was honored for her amazing work over the years. The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Academy of Televisions Arts and Sciences inducted her into its Silver Circle. It's one of the organization's most prestigious honors for which only a few candidates are selected each year.

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