Oregon's First Lady admits sham green-card marriage - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Oregon's First Lady admits sham green-card marriage

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Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes
Salem, Ore. - Oregon's first lady confessed to a sham 1997 marriage in which she wedded an Ethiopian teenager seeking U.S. citizenship in exchange for about $5,000.

Cylvia Hayes, the fiancée of Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, was a 29-year-old college student in need of cash when she married the 18-year-old. “It was a marriage of convenience,” Hayes said in a press conference. “He needed help, and I needed financial support.” The two finalized their divorce in 2002.

Hayes said she later turned her life around and became involved in volunteering and politics, but the marriage remained a source of shame.

“It was wrong then and it is wrong now and I am here today to accept the consequences,” a tearful Hayes, now 47, told reporters. She revealed that she hadn't told the governor about the arrangement until a local reporter began asking questions this week.

Kitzhaber was “stunned and hurt” by the revelation, Hayes said, but he accepted her apology. “And I will be eternally grateful for the beautiful, loving way he has supported me.”



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