For two hours on Monday morning, December 1, Multnomah County Judge Janice Wilson read aloud a 42-page opinion, as initiative king Bill Sizemore sat at a table in front of her, his eyes glued to a printed copy of her ruling.
Before she started the reading, Wilson got right to the point, noting that Sizemore would be going to jail that day for being in contempt of court. And as soon as she finished reading her opinion—which detailed all the ways in which Sizemore flaunted a 2003 injunction stemming from a case where a jury found that Sizemore's organizations had engaged in racketeering and fraud—Multnomah County Deputy Sheriffs handcuffed Sizemore and walked him out of the room.
Judge Wilson detailed the various organizations that Sizemore operates under, like the Nevada-based American Tax Research Foundation (ATRF). "The inescapable conclusion is that the ATRF was a sham charitable organization set up to pass money provided by Loren Parks and Dick Wendt to compensate Mr. Sizemore for his work on initiative measures," Wilson wrote in her ruling.
Initiative watchdogs at Our Oregon put out a statement in response to the ruling: "Sizemore created a web of deceit to funnel money through a sham charity and into his own pockets."
In response, Judge Wilson ordered Sizemore "jailed until he purges himself of contempt by signing the required forms and reports and filing them," or until June 1, 2009, whichever comes first. Sizemore's attorney indicated the papers—like tax returns for ATRF—would be signed and filed by Monday evening, which didn't happen.
"He holds the keys to that lock," noted Richard Schwarz of the American Federation of Teachers-Oregon, one of the groups that filed the original lawsuit.
Judge Wilson also ordered Sizemore to repay any money that's been transferred in violation of the injunction, with the amount to be determined in a future hearing. AJR