There's been a stunning
turn of events in the tax evasion case against initiative activist Bill Sizemore
, a two-time Republican gubernatorial candidate in Oregon. His wife, Cindy Sizemore, is considering testifying against her husband, according to a motion
filed by the state in Marion County Court on June 4. Here's an excerpt from that motion:
The case began last November when Oregon Attorney General John Kroger indicted
both Sizemores for tax evasion. That indictment stemmed from a state Department of Justice investigation into a Sizemore non-profit. In that probe by the department's charitable activities section, DOJ lawyers learned the Sizemores failed to file state tax returns for the tax years 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Sizemore later told WW
that although he did not file returns, he paid the state what he thought he owed for those years.
Here's an excerpt from that Nov. 30 story
Sizemore acknowledges not filing tax returns for 2006 through 2008 but says he made that decision strategically to minimize risk. He says that when a judge earlier found that tax returns he filed for a non-profit he ran were incorrect, he realized that any personal return he filed would also be incorrect because it would be related to the non-profit return.
"I filed returns for that foundation. The AG and the unions' lawyer said they were all completely wrong. So they would say my personal returns were all wrong too," Sizemore says. "The penalties would be less for not filing than for filing a false return."
Sizemore argued last year that the case was politically motivated and blamed Kroger for acting on the wishes of public employee unions who provided enormous support for Kroger's 2008 election. Kroger's chief criminal prosecutor, Sean Riddell, who is responsible for the Sizemore case said that accusation was "baseless."
Sizemore placed fourth in the May 18 GOP gubernatorial primary, receiving 7.5 percent of the vote.
Reached by telephone this morning, Sizemore disputed some aspects of the motion and clarified others. He says it's his understanding that the state has made his wife an offer but that it's his understanding that she has not yet accepted it.
He says that contrary to the implication in the motion, he and his wife remain happily married, although they have been living in different towns temporarily for logistical reasons.
"My wife and I are not separated or divorced or anticipating that," Sizemore says. "Our relationship is still one of husband and wife."
He also objects to the state's characterization of his behavior.
"There is no basis for the claim I became angry and argumentative," he says."I knew she was going to talk to them in advance. I had no problem with her doing that."
Sizemore acknowledges that DOJ lawyers are trying to get his wife to testify against him. But he says subsequent to filing the motion they have discussed a tentative compromise which would let the Sizemores see each other as long as they are careful what they talk about.
"They have now backed off," he says. "They are saying we can see each other as much as we want but just cannot talk about the case."