SO, NOW I'M O.J. SIMPSON
December 14, 2006
Several friends have told me over the past few years, “Bill, someday your ridiculous case will be overturned by the courts and you will be vindicated.” To each of those friends I have responded, “When that happens, you can rest assured that The Oregonian will not run a headline saying: Sizemore Vindicated. Their headline will say: Like O.J. Simpson, Sizemore Gets Off.
Thanks to The Oregonian for being so predictable. After the news broke this week that the Court of Appeals had overturned the personal judgment against me, The Oregonian opened their editorial with a comparison to me and OJ. Simpson, ignoring the distinction that O.J. was found by a jury to owe millions for murdering two innocent people, and simply didn’t pay, while in my case the court said I don’t owe the teachers union any money.
Truth is, last week’s decision in my favor by the Oregon Court of Appeals did not vindicate me. The court simply concluded that there was no legal basis for holding me personally liable for the judgment against Oregon Taxpayers United. That’s the news, folks, but as Paul Harvey says, “Here’s the rest of the story.”
The Oregonian’s editorial stated, “…a jury found that Sizemore and his crew engaged in a ‘calculated course of criminal conduct’ and ‘cynical, criminal manipulation of the democratic process’.” That statement is patently false. The jury did not find that or make any such statement. Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Jerome LaBarre made that statement after the trial was over. Remember, however, that the jury, not Judge LaBarre, was the fact finder in our case. Moreover, of all people involved in our case, Judge Jerome LaBarre has no right to claim any moral high ground.
Judge Jerome LaBarre presided over the OEA v. Oregon Taxpayers United case for three long years. The entire time, the judge concealed from everyone the fact that his own son was a member and activist in the same union that was suing us in his courtroom. Only when his son was elected president of his local and the secret could no longer be kept, did Judge LaBarre confess his three-year conflict of interest and resign from the case. That was after three years of manipulating our case so that his son’s union won at every turn.
Where was The Oregonian’s editorial criticizing Judge LaBarre’s reprehensible conduct? They knew about his conflict of interest, but instead of reporting it, told me the fact didn’t seem newsworthy to them.
During the trial, Judge LaBarre suppressed evidence that would have made it impossible for our jury of fourteen Democrats and one Green Party member to have found against us. Then, at the end of the trial, he and the unions formulated jury instructions that made it all but impossible for the jury not to find against us. The entire trial was orchestrated to reach a predetermined conclusion and the Portland media gave them all the cover they needed to pull it off.
For example, the public has been led by news coverage of the trial to believe that I engaged in a pattern of forgeries to get measures on the ballot. Here’s the fact: We submitted approximately 266,000 signatures on the two measures over which the unions sued us. The total number of forgeries that were presented to the jury was less than 30, less than one-thousandth of one percent of the whole. Two employees, Becky Miller and Kelli Highley, admitted that indeed they had forged a handful of signatures (12 to 14 each) on the two petitions, and both stated under oath that I neither knew of nor authorized their actions.
I have never forged signatures, told anyone else to, or knowingly looked the other way while someone else did. In fact, I have turned in for prosecution dozens of circulators, who we caught forging signatures. As for the other charges against OTU, never in this country have such legally absurd claims ever even gone to trial. Who ever heard of a political entity suing a political opponent for all of their campaign money back tripled, because the other side’s tax returns were allegedly inaccurate?
Anyone with any knowledge of Oregon politics knows exactly what is going on in this case. The teachers union got tired of spending millions of dollars every election fighting my pro-taxpayer measures, which have saved Oregon taxpayers billions of dollars, and decided to sue me out of politics. They sued me in liberal Multnomah County, tossed all of the Republicans out of the jury pool, and got a judge whose son was an activist in their own union. Low and behold, with that stacked deck they won a multi-million judgment for which I personally was held liable, even though I was not a party to the case and never had a trial. Talk about a miscarriage of justice.
Some months ago, the unions showed their hand when they offered to not pursue me for the $4.5 million I owed them, if I would simply agree to drop my appeal and stay out of politics for 15 years. I rejected their offer, which was nothing short of legal blackmail, and last week saw the judgment tossed by the court of appeals.
In the final analysis, here’s my sin: I have placed measures on the ballot that have given Oregonians the opportunity to decide for themselves what kind of government they want and how much taxes they want to pay? That’s it. So, why is it so important to so many on the left side of Oregon’s political spectrum that voters not be given those choices? What’s wrong with letting the people vote?
Apparently, it’s a big enough deal to throw out the legal rulebook and journalistic ethics in an all-out effort to bury the guy who puts the measures on the ballot that gives the voters all of those choices. Well, so far their plan hasn’t worked. At any rate, thanks to the Oregon Court of Appeals for getting this one right.
© 2006 Bill Sizemore - All Rights Reserved
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Bill Sizemore is a registered Independent who
works as executive director of the Oregon Taxpayers Union, a statewide
taxpayer organization. Bill was the Republican candidate for governor
in 1998. He and his wife Cindy have four children, ages eight to thirteen,
and live on 36 acres in Beavercreek, just southeast of Oregon City, Oregon.
Judge Jerome LaBarre presided over the OEA v. Oregon Taxpayers United case for three long years. The entire time, the judge concealed from everyone the fact that his own son was a member and activist in the same union that was suing us in his courtroom.