Editor’s note: We received more information from Dave Hunt regarding the nature of the issue and have updated the article to reflect the latest information.
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Former Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives Dave Hunt faces steep U.S. Coast Guard fines for allegedly operating an illegal charter with the family boat — a fine for which he says he was unaware he was facing.
The U.S. Coast Guard told KOIN 6 News that Hunt was cited on Oct. 6 and faces a $10,000 for allegedly giving two guests a paid tour on the Willamette River in his 17-foot Bayliner without a charter boat captain’s license. Hunt was stopped for operating the charter near Oregon City and is the first person to be cited for illegal charter activity in the Portland area this year.
However, during a phone call with KOIN 6, Hunt said that he wasn’t aware that he received an official citation for the charter, or that he may owe the USCG tens of thousands of dollars. The former lawmaker added that he hadn’t seen any news coverage about the citation, which was publicized in a USCG press release on Oct. 13.
“I received no fine,” Hunt said.
The Oregon State Marine Board confirmed that the boat, which is co-owned by Hunt’s wife Tonia Hunt, was the vessel involved in the alleged charter. The USCG also issued Hunt a Captain of the Port Order barring the 54-year-old from using the boat for any commercial purposes. Although unlikely, the USCG said that the proposed $10,000 fine could be increased to a maximum of $103,200 during a scheduled civil penalty hearing with a USCG judge.
Hunt previously faced legal trouble in 2021, when Portland police officers arrested him for “commercial sexual solicitation.” The Portland Police Bureau released details stating that Hunt reportedly agreed to pay an undercover officer for “sexual acts,” and he was taken into custody at the Ramada Inn in Southeast Portland on April 28, 2021.
According to court documents obtained by KOIN 6, Hunt pled guilty to the charge on Sept. 29. 2021. However, the case was ultimately dismissed by Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt.
“I knowingly offered to pay a fee to engage in sexual contact with an adult female,” Hunt’s guilty plea reads. “I did not recruit, harbor, transport, or provide a person for the purpose of a sexual act.”
As a state lawmaker, Hunt was one of the numerous sponsors of a bill criminalizing sex trafficking in 2007. In 2011, he also voted for a bill that created the crime he was later arrested for.
After his career as a state legislator, The Oregonian reports that he worked as a lobbyist and also served on the Clackamas Community College board of directors. Hunt won his reelection bid for the community college board handily in May of 2021. However, he resigned two months later at the request of his fellow board members, the Portland Tribune reports.
Following the publication of this story, Hunt told KOIN 6 that, upon contacting the USCG, he was informed that he has not officially been fined for the incident, but that a fine may be given and appealed in the coming weeks.