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Oregon’s ‘first lady’ admits to past ‘green-card marriage’ with Ethiopian 18-year-old

Talk about an October surprise!

The first lady of Oregon–though she’s technically not married to the governor yet–tearfully admitted Thursday that she once married an 18-year-old Ethiopian immigrant in exchange for around $5,000 so he could get a green-card.

Cylvia Hayes was forced to come clean after the the Willamette Week, an alternative newspaper, began reporting that she was previously married three times. The problem? Only two of these marriages were previously known to the public, including Gov. John Kitzhaber.

“This is the most painful part for me,” Hayes said, according to Fox 12. “John Kitzhaber deserved to know the history of the person he was forming a relationship with. The fact that I did not disclose this to him meant that he has learned about this in the most public and unpleasant way.”

The “green-card marriage” took place in 1997, and a divorce was finalized in 2002. Hayes says she never lived with the man, named Abraham Abraham, and only met him a few times. Prior to this marriage, which took place when she was 29, Hayes was married and divorced twice.

The first lady of Oregon, who got engaged to the governor this summer and is his live-in partner, also admitted that this was “an illegal act” and a “marriage of convenience.”

Marriage fraud is a federal felony, but because it carries a five-year statute of limitations, neither Hayes nor Abraham can be charged for a crime.

The governor has not publicly commented on the matter.

Hayes’ full statement is available here from The Oregonian.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Josh Kaib

Josh Kaib is the Assistant Editor of Watchdog Wire. Twitter: @joshkaib

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