By Taxpayer Association of Oregon
The Oregon Democrat’s La Mota scandal continues to ensnare yet another statewide officeholder and now U.S. Congresswoman Val Hoyle. It has come to light that when Hoyle served as Oregon’s Labor Commissioner she greased the process for the labor bureau to approve an eye popping $554,000 grant to a La Mota non-profit run by CEO Rosa Cazares.
Cazares and her partner Aaron Mitchell co-founded the troubled cannabis company La Mota.
Mitchell was one of Hoyle’s top two donors giving $20,000 in actual cash to her statewide Labor Commissioner campaign.
Willamette Week reported that when Hoyle was Director at BOLI, Cazares hosted her for dinner at a high-end restaurant to discuss a new “Cannabis Apprenticeship”. When asked if she’d ever met Cazares, Hoyle said, “I can’t recall.”
Fast forward to almost a year later when Commissioner Hoyle is running for Congress, and just two days before their non-profit could apply for the grant through BOLI’s apprenticeship program, Mitchell and Cazares gave a combined $5,800 to Hoyle’s congressional campaign.
Now BOLI is investigating and asking Hoyle to provide her personal phone so they can review any state business discussed on her personal device. Hoyle has seemingly ignored emails from BOLI requesting information (she said she never saw them), and has refused to share her personal phone with investigators saying she will provide the information herself.
Public records show Hoyle went to bat and helped guide the non-profit’s apprenticeship grant application within her bureau, coaching the applicants through the process.
Despite a state employee raising repeated concerns about the flakiness and unresponsiveness of the La Mota staff about their non-profit’s application, they were granted $554,000.What was it for?
To train only 4 apprentices. Yes, only 4.
After an explosive report by Willamette Week that revealed La Mota, Cazares and Mitchell owed $3 million in state and federal taxes, the Bureau of Labor and Industries cancelled the grant and asked for the money back.
Hoyle is not the only high-profile Oregon Democrat entangled with La Mota. Former Secretary of State Shemia Fagan resigned after it became public that she was being paid $10,000 a month to moonlight for La Mota while her office was overseeing an audit of the company