November 6, 2009 Volume 110 Number 21

Teachers unions file lawsuit against Sizemore, Loren Parks

The Oregon Education Association (OEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT)-Oregon filed a civil lawsuit in Multnomah County Oct. 29 against Bill Sizemore, Loren Parks and his organizations for racketeering. The claim is that Sizemore and Parks, a Nevada millionaire, conspired to set up a sham charitable organization to cover up their political activities.

In 2002, the unions won a civil racketeering judgment against Sizemore’s Oregon Taxpayers United and the OTU Education Foundation.

“It’s unbelievable that Sizemore continues to engage in racketeering and that Parks continues to illegally funnel money into sham charities to support Mr. Sizemore in his unlawful efforts,” said OEA President Gail Rasmussen. “Their intolerable actions have perverted Oregon’s citizen initiative system.”

The lawsuit centers on Sizemore and Parks’ use of a charitable foundation to gather signatures for, and to promote, four ballot measures during the 2008 general election campaign. The unions allege that the foundation was utilized to funnel money for Sizemore’s political activities. Many of the allegations made in the plaintiffs’ suit were referenced and substantiated in a 2008 ruling issued by Multnomah County Judge Janice Wilson in which she found Sizemore in contempt of court.

“It’s clear that Sizemore and Parks have teamed up in order to subvert the initiative process,” said AFT-Oregon Executive Director Richard Schwarz. “It’s time they were held accountable for corrupting Oregon’s initiative system. Anyone wanting to make laws ought to live by those we already have.”

The suit alleges the racketeering conspiracy between Sizemore and Parks was so prevalent that it required Sizemore to commit perjury on multiple occasions to cover up their activities. There are 33 different and separate instances of Sizemore’s alleged perjury included in the plaintiffs’ suit.

The suit seeks $18 million in damages — three times the amount the unions spent to defeat the Sizemore measures last fall.

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