Anti-union ballot measure author Bill Sizemore — whose sham non-profits were convicted of racketeering by a civil suit jury in 2002 — pled guilty Aug. 4 to three felony charges of tax evasion and spent 18 days in Marion County Jail. Sizemore, 60, had been given a 30-day sentence, but was let out early after credit for good behavior and for performing custodial work at the jail.
The sentence — for failure to file tax returns for 2006, 2007, and 2008 — also includes three years of probation.
The guilty plea was part of a plea bargaining agreement. A trial had been scheduled to begin Aug. 9. If he’d gone to trial and been convicted, Sizemore faced up to five years in prison and a fine of $125,000 for each count, which is a Class C felony.
Sizemore will have until early December to file tax returns under the agreement. Those returns could open Sizemore up to further legal jeopardy, however. He still owes substantial monetary damages to the Oregon Education Association and American Federation of Teachers, the two unions which filed a racketeering lawsuit against Sizemore in 2000.
Evidence for the Oregon Department of Justice tax evasion case came from a related lawsuit by the two unions.
“Bill Sizemore refused to file his taxes to hide the fact that he was moving hundreds of thousands of dollars into his own pockets and into his corrupt initiative campaigns,” said Our Oregon Executive Director Patrick Green in a press statement. Our Oregon is an initiative watchdog group that is supported by unions and other groups.
The Marion County jail stay wasn’t Sizemore’s first time behind bars; in 2008, he spent a night in Multnomah County Jail for contempt of court after he refused a judge’s repeated orders to file tax forms for his sham charity.