Activist files second lawsuit against Lon Mabon
A gay rights activist who won a 1992 court judgment against the Oregon Citizens Alliance and its antigay founder, Lon Mabon, has filed a new lawsuit against the group in an effort to collect that debt. A Multnomah County, Ore., jury found that Scott Lively, the OCA's former communications director, had used unreasonable force in ejecting gay rights activist Catherine Stauffer from an antigay event. Stauffer, seeking to collect more than $30,000 awarded her from the initial case, contends that the alliance and other organizations fraudulently transferred assets in an attempt to avoid paying the judgment. The suit includes Joseph and Glenva Chotard of Bend as defendants. Thane Tienson, a lawyer for Stauffer, said Tuesday that the suit named the Chotards because they purchased a piece of property from an OCA-related organization called the United States Citizens Alliance. The property, in Brooks, includes a building where Mabon and his wife, Bonnie, live and operate the OCA. Tienson said it is "the only piece of property available to satisfy the judgment." Joseph Chotard was on the board of the United States Citizens Alliance and bought the property for $320,000, the suit says. The Mabons remain on the property. Lon Mabon said the Chotards did purchase the property, but he called the new lawsuit "a continuation of an abusive process" by gay rights activists aimed at "draining the OCA of its energy and finances."
Multnomah County district judge Ronald E. Cinniger ruled in March that the Oregon Citizens Alliance, the Mabons, and other organizations were liable for the 1992 judgment. That ruling was the outcome of a 2000 lawsuit contending that the alliance and other defendants illegally hid assets to avoid paying the judgment. The Chotards were not named in the 2000 lawsuit. Mabon sought to have Cinniger's ruling invalidated on the grounds that he was not a legitimate judge because he had not taken a constitutional oath of office. The Oregon court of appeals rejected that argument in August.