Ore. First Lady Planned Pot-Growing Operation in '90s

Cylvia Hayes says marijuana operation 'never materialized'
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2014 8:26 AM CDT
Ore. First Lady Planned Pot-Growing Operation in '90s
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber is up for re-election on Nov. 4; he's been bruised by the allegations surrounding Hayes but is still expected to win a historic fourth term.   (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

The good news for Oregon's first lady as her colorful past continues to trickle out? She did not take the proceeds from her illegal green-card marriage and buy a pot farm in secluded Washington state near the Canadian border. The bad news? A retired real estate broker tells the Oregonian that he sold Cylvia Hayes and an ex-boyfriend 60 acres in 1997, and that after it went into foreclosure he found marijuana "cuttings all over the pool table" and the apparent accoutrements of a marijuana grow operation, including fertilizer, containers, and irrigation equipment. Hayes responded to the allegation yesterday, saying that she was in an "abusive relationship" and that the property "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."

Malarkey, says the broker: "He was not the leader. The leader was her. She did all the talking, all the negotiating. I remember her saying, 'Oh, this is just the perfect place.'" It's not the only problem staring down Hayes: She's also facing scrutiny over running her consulting business out of the governor's mansion, reports the Willamette Week, as well as questions over her use of her title at paid appearances. Hayes' current beau, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber—who's up for re-election on Nov. 4—yesterday asked the Oregon Government Ethics Commission to determine whether Hayes should be considered a "public official" (and therefore barred from profiting from her public position), but he's been vocal in her defense. Citing her "successful career long before she met me" at a debate on Friday, he called it "ludicrous" that Hayes "should be expected to give up her life's work because she is married—hopefully soon—to a governor." (More Oregon stories.)

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