1997: Cylvia Hayes jointly bought property for pot grow

Politics
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Editor’s Note: This story was first published on KOIN.com on October 13, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Just four months after she married an Ethiopian man solely to help him become a US citizen, Cylvia Hayes was involved with a property she admits was intended to be an illegal marijuana grow operation.

Hayes, the fiancee of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, admitted publicly last Thursday she had an illegal secret marriage from 1997 until 2001.  She said she was paid $5000 by the man, Abraham Abraham.

In this Jan. 12, 2015 file photo, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber kisses fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, after he is sworn in for an unprecedented fourth term as Governor in Salem, Ore.  (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
In this Jan. 12, 2015 file photo, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber kisses fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, after he is sworn in for an unprecedented fourth term as Governor in Salem, Ore. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Public records show that in November 1997 — just four months after her marriage — she and another man bought a $245,000 piece of property with a $15,000 down payment.

The property is in remote Washington state, in Okanogan, near the Canadian border.

Patrick Siemion, who sold the property to Hayes and her boyfriend, told KOIN 6 News, “There was somewhat of a leader/follower there, and she was leading and the gentleman was following.”

Siemion said the pair soon stopped making payments and public records show Cyliva Hayes gave up her interest in the property in April 1998.

Her ex-boyfriend has history of domestic violence convictions, KOIN 6 News confirmed.

When he got the property back, Siemion said it was “obvious why they had chosen that property.”

Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes (right) shakes hands at the 4th inauguration of Gov. John Kitzhaber in Salem, Jan. 12, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes (right) shakes hands at the 4th inauguration of Gov. John Kitzhaber in Salem, Jan. 12, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

“They had been growing marijuana,” he said. “There was a very large pool table in the log house and it was covered with what people call a shake, when they trim plants, it was covered with that. And then I went out into the outbuilding and there was a full smorgasbord apparatus for drip irrigation, and marijuana specific fertilizers etc. etc,” he said.

In a statement to KOIN 6 News, Hayes said, “I am not proud of that brief period of time. I was involved in an abusive relationship with a dangerous man. We lived together for several  months on the property in Okanogan that was intended to be the site of a marijuana grow operation that never materialized. I was never financially involved with it. I did not pay any part of the down payment or mortgage payments. I had no money. The money I had received in July 1997 for entering a fraudulent marriage was used as I have previously stated — to purchase a lap top and pay school expenses.”

Also in her statement, she said she “began to make plans to get away” just months after buying the property.

Not long after that, Hayes moved to central Oregon and, in her words, “began building a life and career that I am very proud of.”

The full text of Cylvia Hayes statement to KOIN 6 News:

Last Thursday I admitted that 17 years ago I was in the middle of a very difficult and unstable period of my life. I said then, and I’ll say again… I was associating with the wrong kind of people and making mistakes. 
I am not proud of that brief period of time – I was involved in an abusive relationship with a dangerous man. We lived together for several  months on the property in Okanogan that was intended to be the site of a marijuana grow operation that never materialized. I was never financially involved with it. I did not pay any part of the down payment or mortgage payments. I had no money. The money I had received in July 1997 for entering a fraudulent marriage was used as I have previously stated — to purchase a lap top and pay school expenses.

In the spring of 1998 I began to make plans to get away. In July 1998 I moved to Central Oregon and began building a life and career that I am very proud of.  

-Cylvia

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