Monday, May 02, 2005

Reporter wins Pulitzer for expose of cover up of statutory rape committed by former Oregon Governor. Publisher & governor went to same shul.


At 11:59 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Nigel Jaquiss, reporter for the alternative newspaper, Willamette Week recently won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing the cover up of a statutory rape committed by former Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt.

The publisher of the Willamette Week, Richard Meeker, and former Governor Goldschmidt belong to the same shul.

Hopefully, this will encourage others to address such corruption and abuse.



The Pulitzer Prize Winners
For a distinguished example of investigative reporting by an individual or team, presented as a single article or series, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to Nigel Jaquiss of Willamette Week, Portland, Ore., for his investigation exposing a former governor’s long concealed sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old girl.

April 4, 2005
Goldschmidt probe wins Pulitzer for Portland weekly

Associated Press Writer
PORTLAND, Ore. - Nigel Jaquiss stared off into space, his eyes brimming with tears when word hit the tiny alternative weekly's newsroom that he had won a Pulitzer Prize, journalism's most-coveted award, for uncovering a 3-decade-old sex abuse scandal involving a former governor.

"I never thought it would happen to me," said Jaquiss, 42, a former Wall Street oil trader who is now an investigative reporter at the Willamette Week, a Portland weekly known for its edgy critique of Oregon politics.

Following up leads that larger papers had overlooked, Jaquiss documented a three-year-long sexual relationship in the 1970s between Neil Goldschmidt, then mayor of Portland, and a 14-year-old girl who baby sat for his children. After serving as mayor, Goldschmidt went on to become governor, and Secretary of Transportation in the Cabinet of President Jimmy Carter.

Willamette Week published Jaquiss' story last May.

The Oregon newspaper is the fifth alternative weekly to win a Pulitzer, said Roxanne Cooper, director of marketing for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, in Washington, D.C. The Village Voice has received three and the Boston Phoenix received the fourth, she said.

"I think most of us know how unusual it is for a paper our size to win this award," said Mark Zusman, editor of Willamette Week, which has an unpaid circulation of 90,000.

Steve Forrester, one of the paper's original founders and now the editor and publisher of The Daily Astorian on the Oregon coast, said the newspaper started out with the specific aim of competing against The Oregonian, the region's largest newspaper.

"And they sure did," he said, adding: "It's rare for an alternative weekly because so many of them have not lived up to their promise and their opportunity - they are essentially lifestyle papers and not much more."

"We offer them our heartfelt congratulations," said Peter Bhatia, executive editor of The Oregonian. The daily, which has won three Pulitzers over the past five years, also was a finalist this year for a series it ran on methamphetamine use.

Rumors of the prize spread throughout the morning, prompting one Willamette Week editor to dash out for six bottles of champagne.

Shortly after noon on Monday (3 p.m. EST), the newspaper staff gathered around a speaker phone in Zusman's office for an incoming phone call. It was Western Union, calling to say: "You were awarded the Pulitzer prize."

The room erupted into applause and soon after, Jaquiss - whose face was frozen in meditative silence - was bathed in champagne. So was Zusman, the newspaper's editor.

Zusman pointed to Jaquiss and said: "This guy isn't done yet."

Willamette Week, founded 30 years ago, has carved a niche for itself with its unflinching look at Oregon politics and its whimsical reviews of rock bands and cheap restaurants. The back pages sport racy personal advertisements and ads for male and female escort services.

But it has also established a name for going after hard news.

Foremost was Jaquiss' pursuit of a rumor that Goldschmidt, a revered former governor and one of the most respected politicians in Oregon, had sex with his children's baby sitter while he was Portland mayor.

When the Willamette Week approached Goldschmidt's lawyers and informed them of their plans to publish the story, Goldschmidt resigned from his position on Oregon's Board of Higher Education, citing ill-health. But within hours of the article appearing on the Willamette Week's Web site, the politician called a meeting with editors from The Oregonian newspaper in which he acknowledged that he had sex with the 14-year-old while he was Portland mayor.

In his seven-year career at the weekly, Jaquiss has won numerous awards. In 2001, his reporting on toxic mold at the Whitaker Middle School led to the school being shuttered and laid the groundwork for a class-action lawsuit by parents.

This past January, Jaquiss was leaked confidential papers that raised questions about whether the Texas Pacific Group's planned buyout of Portland General Electric, the state's largest utility, was in the public interest. Last month, state regulators blocked the proposed sale - saying it would not benefit the public.

After the initial outburst on Monday, but before the champagne was popped, Zusman heard a voice on his speaker phone.

Zusman replied: "Hello? Is this Western Union? Have you been holding this whole time? I'm sorry."


Monday, April 4, 2005

In The Northwest: Oregon still reeling from Goldschmidt sex scandal


A real-life version of the Italian political melodrama "Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion" reportedly has earned a Portland alternative newspaper a spot amid finalists for the 2005 Pulitzer Prizes.

Willamette Week revealed last spring that former Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt began a three-year sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl while serving as mayor of Portland and engaged in a cover-up that lasted nearly three decades.

The story was a bombshell. Its aftershocks aren't over.

It blew holes in Oregon's close-knit power structure, sidelined the state's premier backstage fixer, embarrassed its dominant daily newspaper and damaged Gov. Ted Kulongoski. Kulongoski was a Goldschmidt protégé.

"Most politicians and officeholders in Oregon appear to have been terrified of Neil and his web of influence," said Dan Meek, a Portland consumer attorney.

The downfall of Goldschmidt shorted out an electrical power play.

The state's public utility commission recently denied an application by Texas investors to absorb the Portland General Electric Co. from its bankrupt corporate parent Enron. Goldschmidt had lined up a prestige set of Oregon citizens to front for the Texas Pacific Group.

Editor and co-owner Mark Zusman sees a curious twist of fate in that Willamette Week revealed the ultrasecret of Oregon politics.

"To some degree, the success of this newspaper rests in that we live in a city that works -- and works because of Neil," he reflected.

Neil Goldschmidt was Oregon's superstar. As Portland mayor in the 1970s, he torpedoed the proposed Mount Hood Freeway, championed light rail development and created a glorious waterfront park along the Willamette River.

He left Portland to become U.S. secretary of transportation, came home to take a top job at Nike and was elected governor of Oregon in 1986. He shocked the state by leaving after one term, but stayed active backstage through a vast network of former aides and protégés.

"Oregon is a small state and does not produce many celebrity leaders. Neil was in a class by himself," said Stephen Ponder, University of Oregon communications professor.

In more ways than one, it turned out. Goldschmidt started having sex with the 14-year-old, baby sitter to his children and daughter of a political supporter, in 1975. The relationship continued until he went off in 1979 to become transportation secretary under President Carter.

Once an honor student, the young woman went on to a troubled adulthood. She battled drug dependency, served time in federal prison and was victim of a rape. Goldschmidt began paying her money in the 1990s to head off a lawsuit.

Willamette Week is a rare "underground" publication, born in the Age of Aquarius, that hasn't become shallow in news coverage and supine to its entertainment advertisers.

Zusman and publisher Richard Meeker have owned "WW" since 1982 and raised families in Portland. Meeker even belongs to the same synagogue, Beth Israel, as Neil and Diana Goldschmidt.

The "ultrasecret" was known to a circle of Goldschmidt associates. According to Willamette Week, rumor of the relationship wafted into The Oregonian -- the state's major newspaper -- as early as 1986.

"A web of relationships protected the story," said Steve Forrester, publisher of The Daily Astorian. "It was a giant case of co-dependence. People depended on Neil in various ways, for contracts and personal meaning and memories of the best days Portland ever had. An offshoot of co-dependency is often denial."

Willamette Week began examining documents a year ago. Once calls began, the story instantly reached the Goldschmidt network. Four days later, Meeker's voice mail had a message: "Rich, this is Neil Goldschmidt. I'm at the airport, but I'd love to get to lunch with you and Zusman."

They did get together at Carafe, a popular Portland bistro, after declining Goldschmidt's invitation to a private dining room.

"It was like having another, silent person at the table: He didn't mention the subject on all of our minds, and we weren't going to touch it," Zusman recalled.

"On the street outside, Goldschmidt looks at me, takes my hand and then said 'Go get 'em!' I wonder to this day what he meant."

Willamette Week finished its research. It contacted Goldschmidt's attorney and said it had documentary evidence of his sexual relationship with the 14-year-old.

Goldschmidt had one final gambit. On the eve of WW publishing the story, his publicist called The Oregonian. Goldschmidt went to the paper, confessed to an "affair with a high school student" saying it lasted for nearly a year, and apologized "publicly and completely."

The spin briefly worked. The Oregonian described Goldschmidt's relationship with the 14-year-old as an "affair." It ran an unctuous editorial headlined "Gold- schmidt's tragic choice" and termed his decision to leave public life "an incalculable loss to the state." (The Oregonian had been a cheerleader for the Texas Pacific deal.)

Instead, however, The Oregonian found itself enmeshed in criticism -- and blasted by one of its own columnists -- for its choice of words and gentle treatment of Goldschmidt.

The episode revived memories of how in 1992 The Oregonian failed to pursue reports of womanizing by then-Sen. Bob Packwood, although an inebriated Packwood had planted an intimate kiss on the lips of a Washington, D.C., reporter for the paper.

As with Oregon's greatest natural eruption -- the blast that blew the top off Mount Mazama and created Crater Lake 12,000 years ago -- the dust from Goldschmidt's collapse is taking a long time to settle.

"The ramifications of all this are not fully played out yet," said Tim Hibbitts, Oregon's leading pollster.

Or in Zusman's words: "It has created a power vacuum the likes of which has never been seen in this state. There was Neil, and then five floors down was the next tier of leadership in this state."

P-I columnist Joel Connelly can be reached at 206-448-8160 or


The 30-Year Secret
A crime, a cover-up and the way it shaped Oregon.

When the story of late-20th-century Oregon is written, Neil Goldschmidt will tower over most other public figures. His accomplishments as mayor and governor have stood the test of time.

It is also true, however, that his incomprehensible involvement with an adolescent babysitter changed both of their lives forever and—although few people knew about it—the secret profoundly affected Oregon history. No one can say with certainty how much of the arc of the woman’s life was shaped by the man who molested her starting when she was 14. But it is clear that today, on her 43rd birthday, living a thousand miles from her friends and family in Portland, she is a haunted woman.

The Background
Last Wednesday, May 5, at 12:09 pm, Willamette Week emailed Neil Goldschmidt's attorney a letter summarizing the story we were preparing to publish in this week's edition.

The letter outlined allegations that, beginning 29 years ago, when he was Portland's mayor, Goldschmidt had sex with a 14-year-old babysitter on a regular basis over a three-year period. The letter detailed the evidence for these allegations, which had been gathered during a two-month investigation, and included an account of the settlement Goldschmidt had made with the woman in 1994, after having been threatened with a lawsuit by her attorney.

The letter concluded:

"Our investigation has led us to believe the story of your relationship with [woman's name] is true. If you deny the story, we want to give you the opportunity to provide information to us to support your denial."

The next morning, Thursday, May 6, reporter Nigel Jaquiss and editor Mark Zusman were invited to the office of Craig Bachman, a lawyer who represented Goldschmidt. At that meeting, Bachman said Goldschmidt was neither confirming nor denying WW's findings, but asked WW not to publish the story, which he characterized as a private matter that occurred almost 30 years ago.

Jeff Foote, the lawyer who represented the woman Goldschmidt abused, also attended the meeting. Foote asked that WW not name his client, should the paper decide to publish.

Bachman said Goldschmidt would issue a statement within 24 hours, in which he would announce his resignation from a number of positions, including Oregon's State Board of Higher Education, and a leave of absence from his consulting firm. Bachman said the statement would refer to Goldschmidt's sexual abuse of the 14-year-old girl and the contrition he felt about it.

The meeting ended at about 11:45 am. Less than 15 minutes later, Goldschmidt issued a statement announcing his resignations due to deteriorating health and providing detail about his heart condition. It made no mention of sexual abuse, or of the girl.

At 1:47 pm, WW posted on its website a summary of the story it had planned to publish the following Wednesday. Within minutes, the story became the subject of TV and radio reports across the state.

Meanwhile, Goldschmidt had hastily arranged a meeting with editors at The Oregonian at the offices of Gard & Gerber, a public-relations firm. Shortly after the meeting ended at 3 pm, rumors that he had made a confession were buzzing through local news outlets.

At 5 pm that day, WW posted on its website a story outlining the details of the secret Neil Goldschmidt had kept for nearly 30 years.

Three hours later, The Oregonian posted on its website Goldschmidt's admission that he had "an affair" with a "high school student" when he was mayor.

Given Goldschmidt's confession, it no longer seems necessary to publish the evidence WW compiled to support the allegations of sexual abuse.

Instead, this week's coverage details how two people's lives were shaped by a crime that began three decades ago, and the lengths to which one of them went to keep it under wraps.

--News Editor John Schrag

The woman, whom WW is calling Susan, suffers from physical and psychological ailments that have robbed her of health and happiness. She weighs little more than 100 pounds; she suffers insomnia, nightmares and a recurrence of flashbacks. Her hands shake constantly, despite the anti-convulsive medicine she takes to control seizures she's experienced.

She didn't change overnight from the bright and beautiful girl her childhood friends remember to the woman who eventually served time in a federal penitentiary. It is undeniable, however, that her future was never again so promising as when Goldschmidt first led her into her parents' basement.

The late '70s were a giddy time in Portland. Goldschmidt had put the city on the national map with such projects as Pioneer Courthouse Square, Tom McCall Park and the blocking of a proposed interstate highway that would have cut across Southeast Portland to Mount Hood.Goldschmidt surrounded himself with the best and the brightest aides--including, for a time, Susan's mother.

Goldschmidt, who was married, would sometimes hire Susan to watch his two small children. But, according to a cousin of Susan's and more than a dozen of her friends, he used her for much more than babysitting. He would often take her down to her parents' basement, to hotels and other private spots and have sex with her, the sources say.

In Oregon, if an adult has sex with someone under the age of 16, it is considered rape. (According to law-enforcement officials, however, the statute of limitations for prosecution has long since passed.)

In 1979, Goldschmidt, who as mayor had won national renown for the development of the downtown bus mall and the city's then-revolutionary light rail, was tapped by President Jimmy Carter to be Secretary of Transportation.

Carter lost his re-election bid the next year, and Goldschmidt, who'd represented indigent clients as a Legal Aid lawyer before entering City Hall, came home to make some money. He took a senior position at Nike.

Susan took a different path.

Once a straight-A student and class president in elementary school, Susan dropped out of high school in her sophomore year, she says. She earned a GED and took some classes at Portland State University in the early '80s but never graduated from college.

On two occasions she went off to New York to study acting but found herself just another pretty face. "I was good at comedy," she recalled in an early-April interview with WW near her current home in Nevada. "But I couldn't sing."

In the mid-'80s, Susan occasionally waitressed at downtown restaurants and bars, including Valentino's, in the U.S. Bank building, the Lovejoy Tavern (now the Indian restaurant Swagat) and Pink's.She was part of a hard-partying crowd that frequented nightspots like the Virginia Cafe and the Dakota. Instead of testing what friends describe as a keen intellect with college and a career, Susan rarely worked. Despite intelligence, looks and charm, she was sinking fast. "She had more ability and less confidence than anybody I have ever known," says a boyfriend from that time.

Part of what was holding her back, friends say, was her inability to come to terms with what happened with Goldschmidt. "At times she'd talk about him as though she was bragging," says a female friend. "Other times she'd be incredibly angry and bitter."

In 1986, she moved in with some new roommates in an apartment off Northwest 23rd Avenue. If Goldschmidt was no longer an intimate part of her life, he wasn't altogether forgotten.

Susan spent the afternoon of Dec. 15, 1986, in the Virginia Cafe downtown tossing back brandy and champagne. Later, as she drove her tan '79 VW Rabbit out of the garage below the Galleria, she clipped the rear bumper of a pickup truck. A security guard who witnessed the accident called the police.

"I want to personally make sure you get shit for this," she told Portland police officer Clarence Lankins, according to his report. "Neil Goldschmidt is my best friend."

In 1988, Susan moved to Seattle for a fresh start. She took a job as a clerk in a downtown law firm--a job one source says Goldschmidt arranged for her--and began a paralegal course. Susan told a cousin, who lived nearby, that she was proud of getting a job and finally beginning to get her life together. She was 27.

Susan's happiness proved short-lived. On a December morning in 1988, she went to get an allergy shot. Outside the clinic, according to court records, a stranger abducted her at knifepoint.

He forced her to drive to her apartment, correcting her when she tried to steer toward her cousin's house instead. Inside Susan's apartment, the stranger raped her repeatedly, taunting her for hours and threatening to kill her.

A suspect was soon arrested for the crime. His attorney interviewed Susan, according to court records, and discovered that she had been the victim of "prior sexual assault," when she was 14 to 17 and had undergone counseling.

The court record shows that the accused rapist's attorney wanted to enter Susan's counseling records into evidence. The lawyer argued that Susan's identification of the Seattle rapist was suspect because the counseling records showed that she was confusing--in her dreams--the rapist with the man who abused her as a teenager. "The counseling records...reveal that [Susan] was confusing both situations, e.g., the prior abuse and the...rape, in her dreams."

The judge refused to allow most of the counseling records into evidence. The accused rapist was convicted and sentenced to 636 months in prison. "I have never seen a victim who was so completely psychologically and mentally, emotionally destroyed," said Judge Charles Johnson, who had presided over rape and murder trials for 20 years. "She will never be well again."

At the time Susan was raped, Goldschmidt was finishing his second year as the governor of Oregon.

He had made progress on key projects, such as reforming the state's workers'-compensation system and recruiting many of the high-tech giants who today make up Oregon's Silicon Forest. But Goldschmidt knew he would face a strong challenge in the 1990 election from then-Attorney General (and now University of Oregon President) David Frohnmayer, a Republican.

"Born and raised in Eugene, Neil Goldschmidt stormed into Portland politics in the late '60s. He was elected to the Portland City Council in 1970 and two years later, at age 32, became the youngest big-city mayor in the country."

While that battle took shape in 1989, the defense and the prosecution were battling in a Seattle court over how much of Susan's counseling files--and perhaps the identity of her abuser--should be introduced into the record.

If Goldschmidt's name--or even a more precise description--were in the counseling records, he could have been finished politically. On Aug. 9, 1989, Susan's rapist was convicted and the bulk of the counseling records remained under seal per the judge's order. But in October, the defense appealed the verdict--arguing that the counseling records should have been fully introduced. If the Washington Court of Appeals agreed with the defense attorney, the risk of exposure for Goldschmidt remained great.

As the appellate court in Olympia prepared to consider this procedural question, 150 miles south in Salem reporters and pundits puzzled over Gov. Goldschmidt's reluctance to announce his intentions for a second gubernatorial term.Part of Goldschmidt's hesitancy may be traced to Frohnmayer's August campaign kickoff event, when the AG's campaign manager, Donna Zajonc, said, "I gotta believe the best family will win." (Zajonc says she was unaware that Goldschmidt was hiding a damning secret. "I absolutely did not know and have always regretted that quote," Zajonc says today.)

On Feb. 7, 1990, Goldschmidt, then only 49, said he was walking away from public life. "His announcement left Democrats shocked and his campaign workers tearful on Wednesday," The Oregonian wrote.

The media attributed the decision to the impending breakup of Goldschmidt's marriage and, to a lesser degree, his frustration at his dealings with the Legislature.

Until now, Goldschmidt's untimely retirement from the governor's office has remained one of the great mysteries of Oregon politics. "It was a stunning and unexpected political vanishing act," the Portland Tribune's Don Hamilton wrote in a 2001 profile of Goldschmidt.

In September 1992, halfway through Barbara Roberts' first term as Oregon governor, the Washington appeals court denied the defense motion to introduce Susan's counseling records into evidence.

Immediately after the 1988 rape, Susan returned to Portland. She began more counseling and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Unable to work, she received a $400-per-month disability stipend. Public records show that Judge Johnson's fears about her future were well-founded. Susan turned heavily to alcohol and cocaine. She was arrested nine times between 1991 and 1994. In 1992, she violated probation after a cocaine bust and spent five months in Pleasanton federal prison in California.

On the streets of Portland, she was a menace to herself and others, according to police reports. Perhaps the lowest points came when she was arrested on consecutive days for hit-and-runs (nobody was injured). On another occasion, David Petty, the man who was with her during both hit-and-runs, punched her and left her lying in a pool of blood near the Arlington Club.

Goldschmidt, meanwhile, was enjoying life as Oregon's most prominent public citizen. His first major act after leaving office was to establish the Oregon Children's Foundation, which runs the highly regarded literacy program Start Marking a Reader Today.

But eventually, the two paths that veered apart after leaving that basement in the late '70s crossed again.

In 1994, nearly 20 years after Goldschmidt first had sex with her, Susan decided to hire a lawyer.

"In cases where girls have been abused, they often don't come forward until their 30s or 40s," says David Slader, a Portland lawyer who has brought sex-abuse cases against the Catholic Church.

Two sources say Susan was also emboldened by the coverage of the sexual-harassment claims against Oregon Sen. Bob Packwood and the willingness of his accusers to tell their stories.

A friend referred Susan to Jeff Foote, a highly regarded plaintiff's lawyer. Foote agreed to take her case.

Meanwhile, Portland lawyer Doreen Margolin (wife of lawyer and bestselling crime novelist Phillip Margolin) was appointed by a Washington County judge to be Susan's conservator. (A conservator is similar to a guardian.) Susan's parents were living in Rome then, and according to the application, Susan was "unable to manage her property effectively without assistance."

More important, she was expecting soon to be getting a large sum of money from Goldschmidt.

"The appointment of a conservator is necessary because [Susan] is filing a personal injury lawsuit in relation to her claim for injuries sustained from 1975-1978," Margolin wrote.

The lawsuit, which would have placed Goldschmidt's sexual abuse in the public record, was never filed.

Instead, within three months, Goldschmidt and his attorneys had agreed to pay Susan a settlement of approximately $250,000. After attorneys' fees, she received $30,000 in cash and an annuity that pays her $1,500 per month for 10 years, beginning in March 1995. In addition, she will also receive lump-sum payments of $50,000 in 2005, 2010 and 2015, according to Foote.

The money came with one large string attached: Payment of the annuity was "contingent on confidentiality agreement," according to court records. That agreement binds Susan, her family and all of the others involved in the settlement.

After the settlement, Susan moved to Nevada, where she got married and, she says, worked occasionally as a waitress, at the restaurant Spago.

"Saying Goldschmidt was mayor is like saying Mozart wrote music. He transformed a parochial backwater into a city of international renown. Pioneer Courthouse Square, Tom McCall Park and the bus mall -- all are products of Goldschmidt's tenure."

Goldschmidt, meanwhile, carved out a career as this state's most influential power broker, taking on clients as varied as Bechtel, PacifiCorp and Weyerhaeuser. He prospered from lucrative retainers and friendships with powerful people, advising lumber barons Peter Stott and Aaron Jones, plus a host of other corporate leaders.

In 1999, his friend Irving Levin sold a credit company to Household Finance, making Goldschmidt's stake worth $8 million. The former mayor represented developer Tom Moyer in Moyer's attempt to extend the Park Blocks greenway and was part of a partnership that bought the Woodlark Building in 2002 for $4.2 million.

The network Goldschmidt built while in office has added to his power. His former staffers run numerous organizations, including the Portland Development Commission, the gas utility NW Natural and the state itself--Goldschmidt rescued current Gov. Ted Kulongoski from Oregon's political graveyard in 1986 and has been his mentor ever since.

With Susan and Goldschmidt separated by 1,100 miles, their secret might have remained buried forever had Goldschmidt not boldly returned to the public stage.

In November 2003, he led a highly visible and successful campaign opposing the public purchase of Portland General Electric. Two weeks after the campaign concluded, Goldschmidt announced that he was heading a group that itself would buy PGE with backing from the Texas Pacific Group, a private investment firm.

In February 2004, WW began reporting on Goldschmidt's consulting firm, Goldschmidt Imeson Carter, and the extraordinary degree of influence it exercised in the gray space between business and politics. During the reporting, WW kept encountering whispers about Goldschmidt's past. Most involved affairs with adult women, but a few sources said there was also a young girl.

Public-records searches identified court documents in Washington County and Seattle that described his sexual abuse of Susan in great detail, without actually naming Goldschmidt. In late March, WW began to talk to people, eventually speaking with more than a dozen who told a remarkably consistent story about what happened from 1975 through 1978.

On April 7, two WW reporters interviewed Susan in Nevada.

She arrived at a meeting at a sports bar near her home with a Wall Street Journal under her arm--she says she's been a faithful reader of the paper since fifth grade--and a copy of a library book, Tomorrow's God, by Neale Donald Walsch, author of the bestselling Conversations with God.

Before the interview, Susan, a slight, deeply tanned woman with wavy, shoulder-length brown hair, spoke fondly about her Dalmatians, Zoe and Harley, and her love of horseback riding with her stepdaughter. She mentioned that she had recently finished a paralegal course and hoped to find work in that field.

When the interview began, Susan produced a tape recorder and said she was concerned about being misquoted. When reporters showed her court documents and summarized interviews with people who said she had told them about Goldschmidt, the tone of the interview changed. Susan's hands shook so badly she could barely light her Winston cigarette.

Susan acknowledged having been abused in her teens and alluded to earlier molestation by a family member (whom a cousin, in an interview with the Eugene Register-Guard last week, identified as her grandfather). But Susan repeatedly denied that Goldschmidt was the man who began abusing her when she was 14.

Instead, she sang the former governor's praises and mentioned how she appreciated his giving her the novel Cry, the Beloved Country when she was a teenager.

At the end of a 50-minute interview, Susan said she would consider a request to provide documents that would prove that the man who abused her as a teenager was someone other than Goldschmidt.

She later declined to provide such proof.

By the end of April, WW had enough documentation to publish its story. It also learned that Tribune columnist Phil Stanford had interviewed Susan in February and confirmed a portion of the story.

On May 3, Rabbi Emanuel Rose, the leader of Congregation Beth Israel, where Goldschmidt worships, called WW Publisher Richard Meeker, whose family belongs to the temple.

Meeker agreed in advance not to disclose the details of their conversation. Rose did not return WW's telephone calls.

On May 5, Goldschmidt refused the last of many interview requests.

On May 6, he confessed.

In retrospect, it appears that for more than six weeks Goldschmidt was not only aware of WW's investigation but resigned to exposure of his secret.

During the two-month investigation, this paper talked to Goldschmidt only once. That occurred on April 5, after Goldschmidt called WW, inviting Meeker and Editor Mark Zusman to lunch.

In his message, Goldschmidt said, "I really have no agenda. I'm in the news a lot, you guys are interested in a lot of things, and I just think it would be fun."

The April 5 lunch was held at Carafe, a downtown restaurant that serves wine from Goldschmidt's vineyard in Dundee. Goldschmidt's business partner, Tom Imeson, also attended.

At the time, WW was not ready to confront Goldschmidt with its findings. And Goldschmidt never referred to Susan during the lunch.

Instead, Goldschmidt talked about higher ed, the development along the South Waterfront and the job that Gov. Ted Kulongoski was doing.

As they parted after lunch, Goldschmidt pulled Zusman aside, grabbed his hand and said, "Go get 'em."

Several people assisted in the research and reporting of this story, including WW News Editor John Schrag, Arts & Culture Editor Ellen Fagg, reporter Nick Budnick and Seattle Weekly reporter Philip Dawdy.


How Gov. Goldschmidt Aided One Man Who Knew

In early April 1988, then-Gov. Neil Goldschmidt sent a handwritten note to Gail Acherman, his environmental advisor, Acherman had earlier advised him that Bob Burtchaell, a friend of Goldschmidt's, should not be granted an extension on his lease of state land. goldschmidt, in his note, overruled Acherman and instructed her to "act on my behalf: in seeking approval of Burthchaell's extension request.
One of the many unanswered questions about Neil Goldschmidt's sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl is how he kept it a secret for 29 years.

Willamette Week's two-month investigation found that although many friends of the victim knew about the crime, few of Goldschmidt's aides, as mayor or as governor, did.

One individual who knew--and who provided a good deal of help to Goldschmidt--was a private investigator named Robert K. Burtchaell.

Three decades ago, Burtchaell was an original investor in WW and worked as the paper's marketing manager. (WW has been sold twice since then and has been owned since 1983 by Editor Mark Zusman and Publisher Richard Meeker.)

According to court documents, Goldschmidt stopped having sex with Susan in 1978. Sometime afterwards, several sources say, Goldschmidt asked Burtchaell to help, in the words of one source, "handle" her. Another person close to Susan characterized Burtchaell as "an intermediary between [Susan] and Neil" who "helped her contain her anger at him and helped her with her escalating problems."

Those problems were evident in 1986 when Susan moved into a shared apartment off Northwest 23rd Avenue. One of her new roommates believed that Susan had stolen her credit card and run up $1,000 in charges, mostly at Meier & Frank.

The roommate, in an April interview with WW, said she had threatened to press charges if Susan didn't pay the bill. Not long afterward, she told WW, she got a phone call from a man who said he would pay the debt. He said his name was Bob Burtchaell.

About the same time, Burtchaell repeatedly called a male friend of Susan's, who says Burtchaell was trying to help find an approach that would get Susan moving in the right direction.

"Burtchaell's job was to keep her from Neil," says a third source. "If she had problems, she should bring them to Bob." If Susan called Goldschmidt, Burtchaell returned the call, the source says. If Susan met Goldschmidt, Burtchaell was in the room.

According to people close to Susan, Burtchaell remained the primary intermediary between her and Goldschmidt up until Susan obtained a financial settlement from Goldschmidt in 1994.

Burtchaell's career is difficult to categorize. After leaving WW, he counseled people experiencing alcohol problems and invested in real estate before becoming a private eye.

During the late 1980s, at the same time Burtchaell was entrusted with handling Susan, he was experiencing financial problems.

In January 1988, court records show, he borrowed $241,000 from U.S. Bank. The loan was due in 90 days, but Burtchaell failed to pay it back on time.

A company that Burtchaell was part of had bought land along the east bank of the Willamette River near the Sellwood Bridge in 1986 for $125,000. Burtchaell also leased an adjacent moorage for 25 houseboats called Watery Lane from the Division of State Lands, which owns all the river bottoms in Oregon.

In February 1988, according to correspondence WW obtained from the state archives, Burtchaell wrote to then-Gov. Goldschmidt about the moorage.

"I need your advice!" Burtchaell wrote. "I felt that a letter to you would help me find a direction to follow."

Burtchaell outlined his problem: His lease on the moorage was set to expire in 1995, and the state, having determined that there were too many houseboats on that part of the Willamette, had determined in 1984 that it would not renew Burtchaell's lease.

Goldschmidt was in a position to help. As governor, he was one of three members of the state land board, along with the secretary of state and the state treasurer.

Burtchaell wanted a 30-year lease extension. Members of the Sellwood Harbor Condominium Association, whose views included the houseboat moorage, strongly opposed his request. Many of them said they had bought their units in the belief that the houseboat moorage would disappear when Burtchaell's lease ended in 1995.

State lands staff evaluated Burtchaell's request for a lease extension and found it without merit, according to their report. Gail Achterman, a lawyer employed by the state to advise Goldschmidt on land issues, concurred with the staff opinion. "I do not think renewal in 1995 would be justified," she stated in a handwritten note to Goldschmidt on April 7, 1988.

But Goldschmidt pushed hard on Burtchaell's behalf. Buried in the state archives is a handwritten note to Achterman, in which he takes issue with her advice. "I have reviewed the material and now have discussed it with Bob Burtchaell," he wrote back to Achterman. "Unless I am missing facts, I reach a different conclusion.... Please schedule a meeting with Bob Burtchaell. From this point on please act on my behalf in this case."

Achterman reversed her initial opinion and prepped Goldschmidt for a meeting of the land board at which he would recommend a lease extension for Burtchaell.

In a July 27, 1988, memo, Achterman advised Goldschmidt that there would be strong opposition at the land-board meeting, so he should just push for an extension of the lease but not discuss specifics. "Bob needs it done now, but he agrees it should be a ministerial staff matter," Achterman wrote. "This approach should keep discussion of the appropriate lease term out of the meeting and out of any subsequent contested case hearing."

Goldschmidt's support for the lease extension was welcome news for Burtchaell, who was by then in default on his U.S. Bank loan.

After a protracted process, Goldschmidt triumphed over the objections of Treasurer Tony Meeker (no relation to WW's publisher) and Secretary of State Barbara Roberts, and Burtchaell got what he wanted. In January 1989, the land board agreed to reconsider the earlier ruling forbidding the extension of his lease.

In May 1990, Burtchaell's company sold its property and the lease on the state lands to the Sellwood Harbor Condominium Association for $350,000, which was $225,000 more than it had paid for the land four years earlier.

Both Burtchaell and Goldschmidt declined to be interviewed for this story.

In 1993, just a year before Susan threatened to sue Goldschmidt, Oregonian columnist Steve Duin interviewed the former governor. Duin asked whether Goldschmidt felt guilty about having walked away from his political career. Goldschmidt answered by recounting a conversation he'd recently had while "smoking cigars with a friend named Bob Burtchaell" in a Palm Springs hot tub.

Burtchaell, he said, had told him, "'All God has in mind for you is that you get up and do the best you can every day. And God will take care of the rest.' And [Burtchaell]'s absolutely right. Guilt hasn't bothered me since."

Editor's note: Last Sunday, The Oregonian published a piece by Burtchaell titled "No one benefits from learning Goldschmidt's secret" in its Opinion section. Burtchaell, who described himself as an entrepreneur and a friend of Goldschmidt, criticized Willamette Week for publishing the evidence of sex abuse on its website last week prior to Goldschmidt's public confession. "This is not a story about an adult man having sex with a young girl," he wrote. "It's really about a man redeeming himself...."

That's Incredible

An internal memo reveals how The Oregonian missed the Goldschmidt story.

Editor's Note: This is a memo that was sent to Oregonian reporters Friday, May 6, the day after Neil Goldschmidt resigned from several posts upon learning that WW was about to publish evidence that, when mayor, he had sexually abused a 14-year-old girl. That story, posted on WW's website Thursday afternoon, was covered by all the local TV and radio stations Thursday night. On Friday, after The Oregonian published its story about Goldschmidt's "affair" as well as the "confession" he prepared for the paper, key managers and staffers met to recap the previous day's events. This memo, which was sent to WW by more than one source, summarizes that meeting. It is reprinted, unedited, in its entirety. It was written by Kay Balmer, a senior manager who oversees the paper's suburban bureaus. The people named in the memo include reporter Brent Walth, columnist Steve Duin, assistant crime editor Kathleen Glanville and Steve Engelberg, who manages investigative projects. "JoLene" is features editor Jolene Krawczak. "Sandy" refers to editor Sandra Mims Rowe. "Peter" is executive editor Peter Bhatia.
First, a big thanks to WEST for jumping in on the story about the material witness in the Madrid bombing. Much of the extraordinary detail came from West reporters who were out the door working on this the minute it broke.

Today's meeting, as you might imagine, centered on a discussion of Goldschmidt. I'll try to give you some of the highlights.

-- We had gotten a tip about it sometime last winter. This was something that Brent Walth had tried to nail down years earlier when he was at Willamette Week and couldn't get. We began pursuing the rumors last winter, but didn't get too far. For one thing, the woman at times would confirm what had happened and then at other times deny it. Brent was on a plane to Nevada yesterday to talk to the woman when the story broke.

Willamette Week got a copy of the conservatorship somehow and told Goldschmidt they were going with a story. Goldschmidt called us and wanted to tell us, in Sandy's word, because we are the only credible news outlet.

-- Steve Duin felt strongly that our coverage today was too reverential. We are dealing with a child molester. He made a very impassioned plea for doing the who knew what when story -- lots of people became rich riding Goldschmidt's coat tails -- and why they kept it secret. He suggested that readers might think we'd learned nothing from Packwood and that we are hands off people in power.

-- Kathleen Glanville talked about the mixture of emotions she felt. Goldschmidt had been so important, so admired and had had such a profound effect on the city and the state. And, now, to learn that he's a child molester.

-- Steve Engleberg said that in hindsight he wished that they'd put 48 reporters on the story the day they got the tip. Someone -- I don't remember if it was Steve, Sandy or Peter -- said that this tip came in about the same time that two other similar tips concerning public officials came in. It was pursued, just not with the urgency that Steve now wishes we had put into it.

-- JoLene was concerned that so much of the discussion took place behind closed doors. Kathleen Blythe complained that researchers are too often kept in the dark about why they're looking at someone and the why could help them do their job and make them think about taking different reserach routes. ... Steve responded that they'd been asked to keep this very quiet by the initial source, who felt very vulnerable, and that they didn't want everyone to know that Goldschmidt was coming to us because we didn't ,want other media to pounce on that. He, again in hindsight, said he wished that he'd let more people in on what was going on.

-- Lots more talk about the stories that need to be done:

How this has ruined the woman's life.

Who knew what when and the people who enabled.

Status of all the projects he's involved in and how this will affect them.

The man and his secret

and on, and on.

This is not an all inclusive report -- I didn't think to take notes -- but it's the highlights, I think.


Months? Or Years?
The one discrepancy between the story that Willamette Week published on its website last Thursday and the confession Neil Goldschmidt offered later that day has to do with the length of the sexual relationship between Goldschmidt and Susan.

Court documents, both in Seattle and in Washington County, say the sexual abuse occurred from 1975 to 1978. Goldschmidt, however, says the "affair" lasted less than one year. WW checked with Jeff Foote, the lawyer who negotiated a settlement with Goldschmidt on Susan's behalf. "Our records indicated that the abuse started when she was 14 and ended when she was 17," he says. "It happened, and it happened over a sustained period of time." --NJ


Long before Neil Goldschmidt's secret became public, many influential Oregonians knew something about it.

"Bernie Giusto says he had no legal or ethical responsibility to repot what he heard about Goldschmidt's crime to superiors at the Oregon State Police."

WHAT WOULD YOU DO if you learned that the most influential person in the state had committed statutory rape?

Would it matter if he were your friend, your boss or someone you revered?

In May, WW published the story of former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt's sexual abuse of a teenager when he was Portland's mayor in the 1970s (see "The 30-Year Secret," WW, May 12, 2004).

The revelation that for three years Goldschmidt had sex with the daughter of a neighbor and former employee, beginning when the victim was 14, shocked the state.

Nearly as stunning as Goldschmidt's crime was that he'd kept it quiet for three decades, even while a member of President Jimmy Carter's Cabinet, a senior executive at Nike, the governor of Oregon and, finally, the state's consummate power broker for the past 14 years.

It turns out, however, that Goldschmidt's secret wasn't so secret after all.

During the past seven months, WW has established that dozens of Oregonians--many of whom today work at the highest levels of business, government and the media--knew something about Goldschmidt's secret.

Some were friends, some were employees, some were even newspaper editors. To one degree or another, all of them had some knowledge of an almost unthinkable stain on the reputation of a man whose mayoral legacy includes MAX, Pioneer Courthouse Square, Tom McCall Waterfront Park and the death of the ill-advised Mount Hood Freeway.

When faced with the unthinkable, what did people do? Some say they didn't believe what they heard; others took actions that led nowhere; still others simply did nothing.

None of those named in this story admit they knew about the sexual abuse while it was happening. And, certainly, no single person is responsible for keeping Goldschmidt's secret.

But the three decades of collective silence is a testimony to the sway Goldschmidt, 64, has had over this city. As a leader, he dwarfed those who followed.

Placed almost unfairly high on a pedestal by the media and his supporters, Goldschmidt was so intertwined with Portland's identity that acknowledging, let alone confronting, his crime would be an indictment of more than just him. His success belonged to everyone--and so, in a perverse way, would his failure.

As a consequence, the impulse among those who knew something was often rationalization.

"You could argue that I had an ethical responsibility to do something," says Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Giusto, one of those who knew Goldschmidt's secret. "But other people had better information than I had and never acted."

Nobody from Goldschmidt's mayoral tenure (1972-1979), when the sexual abuse occurred, has admitted he or she knew about it at the time, though it's difficult to believe that for three years a big-city mayor regularly snuck away to the Hilton, to a downtown apartment and to the teenage girl's home without anyone noticing.

There is no shortage of people, however, who say they learned about Goldschmidt's behavior after the fact.

The victim herself, whom WW has called "Susan" to protect her identity, told many people about Goldschmidt, particularly after he finally spurned her.

According to court records and interviews, Goldschmidt began having sex with Susan when she was 14, in 1975, and stopped not long before he left Portland in 1979 to work for Carter, a fellow Democrat.

Soon afterward, his victim's life began a spiral into deep dysfunction that would include a dozen arrests, a brutal rape in Seattle, and a stretch in federal prison.

Susan, now 43, was not always such a tragic figure. A straight-A student and class president in elementary school who had enrolled at Portland's elite St. Mary's Academy, Susan eventually dropped out of high school in her sophomore year.

Although friends say she remained intelligent and beautiful, she struggled throughout her 20s with substance abuse. At downtown spots such as the Dakota and Pink's, both now defunct, and the Virginia Cafe, she hung out with a wide range of people, including dope dealers, barflies, musicians, lawyers and developers. She told many of them her story.

Al Solheim, a real-estate investor who has been called "The Father of the Pearl District," acknowledges that he knew Susan and that she told him in the mid-'80s about her abuse at Goldschmidt's hands. "This was a situation that was very difficult for her," Solheim recalls. "She was distressed."

Solheim believed Susan but was not sure what to do. "I was shocked," he says. "I thought about it for a couple of days. [Goldschmidt] was one of the great political figures of our time, and I knew if it became public it would be devastating."

Rather than approaching Goldschmidt, Solheim contacted a mutual friend, Bob Burtchaell, who had experience as a counselor and was also a private investigator. Burtchaell played basketball with Solheim and Goldschmidt when Goldschmidt was mayor. As WW has reported previously, Burtchaell became the middleman between the governor and Susan, getting her out of jams and mediating between the two of them or diverting her when she demanded to meet Goldschmidt.

Solheim has no regrets about his actions. "I feel OK about what I did," he says. "I don't think I should have run to the press."

Susan would tell her story to a number of other men who frequented the same spots she did, including Dave Peters, then a deputy Multnomah County district attorney, and criminal-defense lawyers Mark Morrell and Mark Smolak.

Smolak dated Susan and also encouraged her to seek legal help. "She told me about her involvement with Neil Goldschmidt and asked me for advice," says Smolak, who met Susan when she was 28. "As a friend and an attorney, I felt that I was too close personally to pursue any sort of legal remedy myself." (Susan eventually retained lawyers Jeff Foote and Jana Toran, who won a $350,000 out-of-court settlement from Goldschmidt in 1994 in return for Susan's silence.)

Morrell and Peters declined to comment for this story.

For more than 15 years, the media, including this newspaper, has danced around the conduct of Sheriff Bernie Giusto, who was an Oregon state trooper and Goldschmidt's bodyguard and driver from 1987 to 1989, the first two years he was governor.

Giusto was always more ambitious than the average cop. A graduate of Willamette University with a degree in political science, he won the first of three terms on the Gresham City Council in 1989 while serving as Goldschmidt's bodyguard.

Around that time, according to numerous Goldschmidt staffers and state officials, Giusto also began an affair with the governor's then-wife, Margie Goldschmidt.

While Giusto's dalliance with the wife of the man he was protecting is the stuff of soap operas, the greater significance is that Giusto knew about Goldschmidt and "Susan."

Last month, Giusto appeared before the Senate Rules Committee for a confirmation hearing on his reappointment to the board of TriMet, the regional transportation authority.

Under questioning from state Sen. Vicki Walker (D-Eugene), Giusto acknowledged that he had learned the story about Goldschmidt and the young girl but did not say exactly when or how.

Giusto didn't report the information to his superiors, he testified, because he believed the statute of limitations had expired. (Law-enforcement officials say he was correct.)

Giusto argued he had no duty to pursue further information because there was no evidence that Goldschmidt represented a danger to other children. "In my two years with him, I never saw anything that led me to believe that there were other victims," Giusto said.

In a follow-up interview, Giusto maintained that had he alerted superiors, he might have smeared Goldschmidt unjustly. "It would have been unethical for me to have opened an investigation," Giusto explained. "My only obligation was to make sure there were no other victims around--it was not to quit or confront him."

While Giusto says he didn't pass information about Goldschmidt on to law-enforcement colleagues or others acting in any official capacity, he wasn't completely discreet. He told at least two other people in Goldschmidt's administration.

"Debby Kennedy says she did not believe the story Bernie Giusto told her about Goldschmidt and doesn't recall telling anyone else about it. "The whole thing makes me sad," Kennedy says today."

One is Debby Kennedy, a former Nike executive who was then serving as the state's director of tourism and now heads "Brand Oregon" for Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

Kennedy says that early in 1990, Giusto told her the governor had had a "messy situation" with a young girl years earlier. Kennedy says she told nobody and did nothing.

"I just can't tell you how many rumors there were about him then," Kennedy says. "So many were ridiculous, and this struck me as just another. I mentally flushed it down the toilet and don't recall ever talking about it to anyone else."

But another person Giusto confided in did talk. As The Oregonian first reported in June, Fred Leonhardt, Goldschmidt's gubernatorial speechwriter, says Giusto told him in the summer or fall of 1989. As the man who wrote Goldschmidt's famous "Children's Agenda" speech and who often traveled with the governor to children's events, Leonhardt found Giusto's news particularly disturbing, although he wasn't sure he believed it.

Leonhardt passed the story on to a number of people, including Goldschmidt's gubernatorial press secretary, Gregg Kantor.

Kantor was a true Goldschmidt believer. When Goldschmidt announced his candidacy for governor in 1986, Kantor quit his job at the Bonneville Power Administration and sold his house so he could afford to volunteer for the campaign.

So when Leonhardt told him Goldschmidt might be a child rapist, Kantor was more than a little skeptical.

"I just didn't believe it at the time. I didn't take it seriously," says Kantor, who is now senior vice president of the state's largest gas utility, NW Natural.

Kantor says he was deeply disappointed by Goldschmidt's admission this past May that the story was true, but he declines to say how he feels about Goldschmidt today or if he wishes he had confronted his boss when he first heard.

In addition to Kantor, Leonhardt says he also told another former Goldschmidt press aide, Lee Weinstein. Leonhardt says he told Weinstein the story, including the victim's name, at a meeting around 1992, well after Goldschmidt left office. "Lee's eyes got big," Leonhardt recalls, adding that Weinstein told him that he had heard the story before--from the victim herself, whom he had, coincidentally, dated in high school.

Weinstein, now director of communications for Nike USA, did not return phone calls and declined to answer written questions.

While a number of gubernatorial staff members heard detailed information about Goldschmidt's secret either while he was in office or shortly afterwards, the two staffers closest to Goldschmidt say they never heard a word. Tom Imeson, who was Goldschmidt's chief of staff and went on to become his business partner, says he never heard about the sexual abuse until just before the story broke in May.

Ruth Ann Dodson, the woman who for more than two decades served as Goldschmidt's confidante and gatekeeper, also says she knew nothing, although she acknowledges taking a number of phone calls from Susan when Goldschmidt was governor.

Leonhardt wasn't done talking. As The Oregonian reported in June of this year, Leonhardt says he told Ted Kulongoski about Goldschmidt's secret repeatedly during the early 1990s, including when Kulongoski was state attorney general.

Gov. Kulongoski denied Leonhardt's claim, which was potentially damaging both because of Kulongoski's long association with Goldschmidt and because the governor appointed Goldschmidt to the State Board of Higher Education last year, long after Leonhardt says Kulongoski knew of Goldschmidt's secret.

Last week, Leonhardt offered further information that could be embarrassing to the Kulongoski administration, telling WW that in early 2001 he briefed Steve Schneider, now Kulongoski's senior political advisor, about Goldschmidt's secret.

Leonhardt says he told Schneider at John Barleycorns brewpub in Tigard when they met to discuss Kulongoski's impending candidacy. Schneider was "shocked," Leonhardt says, and reacted with "intense curiosity."

If Leonhardt is telling the truth, either Schneider withheld the information from his boss or Kulongoski tapped Goldschmidt to fix the state's ailing university system knowing he had a giant skeleton in his closet.

Schneider recalls meeting Leonhardt but says the discussion did not include Goldschmidt's secret. "He did not have a conversation with me about this," Schneider maintains.

Given what is now known, it's easy to see why Goldschmidt didn't seek a second term for governor. After he'd kept his secret for more than a decade, events began to unravel. In late 1988, he arranged for Susan--who was trying to contact him regularly and speaking with increasing indiscretion about him--to get job in Seattle. In that city, she suffered a brutal rape and told authorities about her earlier sexual abuse at the hands of a "trusted family friend," who was 21 years her senior--creating the first public document in which she referred to Goldschmidt's crime.

On Feb. 7, 1990, Goldschmidt stunned Oregonians and political pundits across the country when he announced he would not seek a second term as governor.

The man whom The Washington Post had singled out just two years earlier as the "best of the breed" of governors was abandoning a brilliant political career just shy of his 50th birthday.

Goldschmidt cited his pending divorce as the reason for quitting. At least one prominent Democratic activist, Win McCormack, knew better.

"Win McCormack says although he believed the story he heard about Goldschmidt and an underage girl, he never told anybody else about it."

Currently the publisher of the literary quarterly Tin House, McCormack has a lengthy journalistic background. In the '60s, he co-founded the San Francisco magazine Mother Jones, which built its reputation on investigative journalism. After moving to Portland in 1976, McCormack published the well-respected Oregon Magazine (which closed in 1988), as well as Oregon Business magazine, where he remains a board member.

In addition, McCormack has long been a large contributor to statewide and national campaigns. In October, for example, he gave what the Oregon Follow the Money Project says is the biggest single political contribution in the state's history: $1 million to America Coming Together, a Democratic get-out-the-vote operation.

McCormack told WW he learned of Goldschmidt's secret not long after the governor's surprise announcement in 1990. "The brother of a friend of mine was dating [Susan] when Goldschmidt said he wasn't going to run again," recalls McCormack. "He said, 'Let me tell you the real reason he isn't running.'"

With his journalistic experience, McCormack knew what a huge story he had been handed. Still, he chose to do nothing. "I didn't feel like it was my business, and even though I don't like Neil, I didn't want to destroy him," McCormack says.

McCormack says he never shared the secret, even though Goldschmidt's surprise decision remained perhaps the greatest mystery in Oregon politics over the past 15 years.

Last winter, several months before the story about Goldschmidt became public, McCormack attended a party at the home of real-estate investor and Democratic Party activist Terry Bean.

McCormack found himself in a conversation with a number of people, including former Gov. Barbara Roberts.

The conversation turned to Goldschmidt, as has so often been the case across the state for the past 30 years. Why, Bean wondered, had he never run for a second term as governor?

McCormack said he knew but would not tell. According to McCormack and another person present, Roberts, who succeeded Goldschmidt, piped up, "It involves a very young girl."

Roberts denies making any such statement and says she never heard anything about Goldschmidt and an underage girl until the story broke in May.

The people named in this story represent only a few of those who knew something about Neil Goldschmidt's crime over the past 30 years.

Dozens of people, including Susan's friends, Goldschmidt insiders, lawyers and countless others, knew something--and based on hundreds of conversations over the past seven months, it is the rare person who never shared the secret with at least one other.

So how could so many people have known about something so explosive for so long without that information becoming public?

As Bernie Giusto has said about his own actions, there was no legal requirement for anybody to tell the authorities, let alone the media. Of all the people named in this story, apparently the only two people who ever approached Goldschmidt about Susan were Bob Burtchaell and Margie Goldschmidt, both of whom defend him to this day.

The uncomfortable truth is that confronting Goldschmidt or making public disclosure served nobody's interest, except perhaps Susan's. And who was she, compared with Neil Goldschmidt, the man who put Portland on the map?

Would you risk your career and the reputation of the state's most influential man to publicize a decades-old crime?

Even the victim's mother, arguing against the publication of WW's original story, based part of her objection on Goldschmidt's achievements.

"He is man of integrity and has done many, many good things. I don't see what is served by publishing," she said in an interview earlier this year. "I think of statesmen who really served their states and then were disgraced in their old age, and I think to what end? To what end?"

Practically Inexplicable

"Robert Landauer says that after Oregonian cartoonist Jack Ohman told him about the Goldschmidt tip in 1986, he passed the information along to the paper's newsroom."

No story about "who knew" would be complete without a discussion of the role of The Oregonian-the Northwest's largest daily newspaper and the state's most powerful shaper of public opinion.

Local readers and media critics at publications including The Washington Post and the Columbia Journalism Review have hammered The Oregonian since May about its handling of the Goldschmidt story.They said the paper was too soft on Goldschmidt, allowing him to call what legally constituted statutory rape "an affair" while overstating its own role in uncovering the secret.

But it is The Oregonian's conduct before the story was broken that deserves more scrutiny.

WW has learned that the paper's first solid information about Goldschmidt's secret came 18 years ago, in 1986. At that time, Jack Ohman, the paper's nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist, heard a tip from a friend.

Ohman took the information to his boss, then-editorial page editor Robert Landauer, who still writes a twice-weekly column for the paper. (At daily papers, the newsgathering and editorial-page staffs work independently.)

In an interview last week, Landauer recalled that after speaking to Ohman, he interviewed Ohman's source, whom he would not identify, and found him to be credible.

Landauer says he immediately called a meeting with then-Editor William Hilliard and Managing Editor Peter Thompson, both since retired. "I said, ‘Here's what's been told to me,' Landauer recalls. "'I'm looking at these allegations. They are serious and ought to be pursued in some manner, but this story requires more than the editorial department can do.'"

Today, both Hilliard say and Thompson say they have no memory of the meeting. In any case, the paper never printed a word relating to Ohman's tip.

Landauer says his conscience is clear. "I turned it over to news," he says. "I have no second thoughts about my behavior."

Ohman did not respond to phone calls or questions presented in writing.

In The Oregonian's own postmortem of its coverage of the Goldschmidt story, there has been no mention of the Ohman-Landauer episode. In May of this year, the paper's public editor, Michael Arrieta-Walden, wrote that back in December 2003, the daily got what he characterized as "a tip from an anonymous source" about Goldschmidt but failed to follow up.

That's not quite accurate. WW has learned that the "anonymous tip" was actually a comprehensive account of Goldschmidt's crime from a knowledgeable insider.

On Nov. 13, 2003, Gov. Kulongoski appointed Goldschmidt to the State Board of Higher Education.

A couple of weeks after the appointment, former Goldschmidt speechwriter Fred Leonhardt contacted Jeff Mapes, The Oregonian's senior political writer, whom he'd known for years.

Over lunch, Leonhardt says, he gave Mapes the victim's name, a chronology and the names of others who could confirm the story. (Leonhardt told WW he had promised himself that if Goldschmidt ever sought office again, or was appointed to a position of public responsibility, he would go to the media.)

Mapes, who declined to comment for this story, reportedly told his editors about Leonhardt's bombshell.

But there's no evidence that anybody in The Oregonian's 430-person newsroom pursued the story until the first week of May, when word leaked that WW was about to expose Goldschmidt. -NJ

At 12:13 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Here's an aspect of the story I would like to know more about.

>By the end of April, WW had
>enough documentation to publish
>its story. It also learned that
>Tribune columnist Phil Stanford
>had interviewed Susan in
>February and confirmed a portion
>of the story.
>On May 3, Rabbi Emanuel Rose,
>the leader of Congregation Beth
>Israel, where Goldschmidt
>worships, called WW Publisher
>Richard Meeker, whose family
>belongs to the temple.
>Meeker agreed in advance not to
>disclose the details of their
>conversation. Rose did not
>return WW's telephone calls.
>On May 5, Goldschmidt refused
>the last of many interview
>On May 6, he confessed.

More nattering from the nabobs of negativism.

newsdesk at

* Rabbi Emanuel Rose has been among Neil Goldschmidt's most outspoken supporters since May, when the former governor admitted sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl in the 1970s. Rose wrote in a June 18 Oregonian op-ed that Goldschmidt (who attends Rose's temple) should be allowed to "move on with his life," but he conceded, "we must confront the ethical in all that we do." The rabbi neglected to mention his financial interest in his friend Goldschmidt's moving on. His wife, real-estate agent Lorraine Rose, represented the Goldschmidts in five transactions worth $4.45 million since 2001, which at normal commission rates would pay her more than $120,000. The Goldschmidts recently placed their Northwest Portland home for sale for $1.65 million, meaning Mrs. Rose stands to earn another $40,000.

At 5:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JWB is a homo.


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