NINE YEARS AGO, while working on a photodocumentary of the OCA's (Oregon Citizens Alliance) promotion of their anti-homosexual legislation, Catherine Stauffer was thrown against a wall and dragged across the floor of a local church by Scott Lively, a spokesperson for the OCA at the time. Though the court awarded Stauffer $31,000 in punitive damages, it wasn't until this week--nearly a decade later--that the money she is owed may finally become a reality.

For years, the directors of the OCA, Lon and Bonnie Mabon, argued that they didn't have the money. But, this summer, they have collected approximately $17,000 in donations for their most recent ballot measure. Stauffer and her lawyers believe that money belongs to her.

Yet, the Mabons argue, the money belongs not to the OCA but to the United States Citizens Alliance (USCA), the organization that is actually promoting Measure 9. Technically, the Mabons have argued, Stauffer's claim was against the OCA, not USCA.

The challenge for Stauffer's lawyers, Brent Foster and Thane Tienson, has been to prove that the USCA is cozy enough with the OCA that Stauffer has a rightful claim to those donations. Their most promising step came when they revealed that the Mabons have been sending back thousands of dollars in donations from supporters because they knew those funds would have been awarded to Stauffer. In this context, such an act is fraud. Next week, Tienson plans to file a contempt of court motion.

Tienson also discovered that the Mabons quickly shuffled $12,000 in and out of the OCA account earlier this year. In response, he plans to file a fradulent transfer of money charge between the OCA and USCA.

If she wins, Stauffer plans to contribute to the No on 9 campaign.