Judge rules against Sizemore in suit over calling him a racketeer

A Marion County circuit court judge has ruled against anti-union ballot measure sponsor Bill Sizemore in a lawsuit he filed against multiple groups and individuals for calling him a “racketeer.”

Sizemore sued American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, Service Employees International Union, Our Oregon, the Medford Mail Tribune, The Skanner Newspaper, Arthur Towers, Scott Moore, Kevin Looper, and other groups and individuals — for referring to him as “convicted racketeer Bill Sizemore,” or other versions of that phrase. The suit was filed under the Oregon Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal to publish false statements about candidates or political committees.

Basically, Sizemore’s argument was that his groups were convicted of racketeering, not he himself, and therefore, calling him a racketeer was false. In 2002, a Multnomah County jury found that two groups headed by Sizemore had demonstrated a pattern of fraud and forgery, and therefore were in violation of Oregon’s Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations law.

But Judge Joseph Guimond didn’t buy that argument. “The court finds that it could be reasonably inferred that Bill Sizemore was a ‘convicted racketeer,'” Guimond wrote in a March 18 ruling, “as he was the executive director of the political action committees that were found liable for fraud, forgery, and racketeering.”

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