Embattled Fiancée of Oregon Governor Accused of Buying Land for Pot Farm

By Paul Gaita 10/17/14

Cylvia Hayes has been under scrutiny of late for a variety of issues.

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As Oregon’s Measure 91, which will allow adult residents to own and sell marijuana, seems poised to win by a slight margin in the November 4 elections, the re-election campaign of Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber drew an unplanned connection to the pot industry.

Kitzhaber's embattled fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, revealed that she had purchased property in 1997 allegedly with the intent to grow and harvest marijuana. In a statement to the media this week, Hayes explained that she had purchased the property in a remote section of Washington State with the intent of launching a “marijuana grow operation that never materialized.”

At the time Hayes alleged that she was in an “abusive relationship” with a “dangerous” man who purchased the property with her, but she was never “financially involved” with the intended farm. However, Patrick Siemion, who sold Hayes and the unidentified man the property, disputed the idea that the marijuana operation had never come to fruition.

“There was a very large pool table in the house, and it was covered with what people call a shake, when they trim plants,” he told CBS affiliate KOIN. “I went out into the outbuilding, and there was a full smorgasbord apparatus for drip irrigation, and marijuana specific fertilizers."

Hayes, a private energy consultant who became engaged to Kitzhaber in August 2014, has been the subject of numerous media and state inquiries since 2009. Chief among many of these concerns has been her firm’s receipt of various state contracts.

Earlier this month, the Williamette Week revealed that Hayes had married a teenaged Ethiopian immigrant for undisclosed reasons in July 1997, approximately four months before she purchased the property in Washington. She agreed to the marriage in order to receive $5,000 for school expenses. In her statement to the press this week, Hayes was quick to deny any connection between this marriage and the alleged marijuana operation.

Though media analysts predicted that the fallout from these twin incidents would have a deleterious effect on Kitzhaber’s campaign, recent polls show him maintaining a sizable lead against Republican candidate Dennis Richardson.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.