| December 7, 2007 Volume 108 Number 23
New union lawsuit says Sizemore continues to commit fraud
Oregon union foe and anti-tax activist Bill Sizemore has been using a non-profit corporation based in Nevada to avoid paying a July 2003 court judgment. That’s according to a new lawsuit filed Nov. 29 by the Oregon Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers-Oregon (AFT-Oregon).
The two teachers unions have fought a seven-year legal battle against Sizemore and his Oregon Taxpayers United for fraud and racketeering in the 1998 election.
In 2002, a Multnomah County Circuit Court jury found Sizemore and his group guilty of forgery and fraud, and the following year a judge ordered Sizemore and his groups to pay $2.5 million in damages to the unions. But in October 2006 an appeals court reduced that to just $300,000. The unions appealed that decision to the Oregon Supreme Court, which heard the case in September 2007 but hasn’t yet issued a decision. Even if the appeals court ruling stands, Sizemore still owes the $300,000. Plus, in September 2004, Sizemore was found in contempt of court for violating a related court injunction, and was ordered to pay union attorney fees of $125,000.
So far, the unions have collected only $16,000.
The new lawsuit, also filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, says Bill Sizemore, his wife Cindy, and the Nevada-based American Tax Research Foundation (ATRF) committed conspiracy to defraud the plaintiffs by concealing income. The evidence for that came from recent judge-ordered court proceedings in which Bill Sizemore testified about his income and household finances.
Sizemore has said he has little or no income with which to pay the court-ordered damages. But under oath, Sizemore revealed that the Nevada-based American Tax Research Foundation (ATRF) paid $7,500 a month to a defunct Oregon corporation owned by Sizemore’s wife for work done by Bill Sizemore on the group’s Web site. Plus, ATRF paid $2,500 a month for rent for the Sizemore family residence and amounts for a family vehicle, office space and equipment.
“You can draw your own conclusions about how much work has been done on that Web site,” OEA attorney Greg Hartman told the NW Labor Press.
The site —americantaxresearch.org — is a bare-bones “educational” effort with no more than a couple dozen pages. Sizemore said he wrote the copy, but wasn’t paid by ATRF for that work. Instead, the non-profit paid his wife’s defunct company “CBS Consulting,” and then she paid him $1,000 a month.
The American Tax Research Foundation was CBS Consulting’s only client. Meanwhile, it’s not clear ATRF has had any existence outside of paying the combined $10,000 a month to the Sizemores.
ATRF, which filed papers of incorporation in January 2006, does not appear to have an office or telephone; the president, secretary and treasurer identified in its articles of incorporation are listed as having the same Las Vegas post office box, and no other contact information is given. Online, there is no evidence for the group’s existence except for its own Web site, which lists no phone number or address, nor the names of any individual. E-mails to the sole e-mail contact listed on the site were returned as undeliverable. And ATRF’s Web site domain name? It was registered as of September 2006 to Bill Sizemore and his organization Oregon Taxpayers United.
“He doesn’t think any laws apply to him,” said AFT-Oregon Executive Director Richard Schwarz, “but he doesn’t seem to have any problem drafting up laws that would apply to other people.”
In a separate legal proceeding, the two unions are also seeking a contempt of court ruling against Sizemore for violating a court-ordered injunction that bars him from raising and spending money through any political action committee until he pays the damages. If he’s found in contempt of court, Sizemore could go to jail for up to six months. An April 18, 2008, court date has been set for the contempt hearing.
© Oregon Labor Press Publishing Co. Inc.