Portland Marathon director must pay $865,000, faces other sanctions from state

Les Smith, who has been the Portland Marathon’s event director since 1982, must pay the Portland Marathon $865,000 and is banned from future races, according to details of a settlement released Wednesday by the Oregon Department of Justice.

Of that, $50,000 will be used to reimburse the Department of Justice for the cost of the investigation.

According to a Department of Justice news release, investigators found that Smith operated the Portland Marathon “without any meaningful board oversight” and “received hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans from the Marathon—a practice that is illegal.”

The settlement prohibits Smith from serving as a director or officer of any charitable organization and requires him to dissolve Next Events, his for-profit company, according to the news release. “In addition, he is not able to operate, or be involved with, any foot races in the future, and he is prohibited from seeking reinstatement with the Oregon State Bar,” the news release said.

The Department of Justice confirmed in July of 2017 that it was investigating conflicts of interested related to the Portland Marathon’s relationship to two for-profit companies as well as the marathon’s corporate structure.

In a statement, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum called the marathon a “capstone event in Oregon,” adding that she is “hopeful that this settlement will enable more successful events in the future.”

In January, the City of Portland announced that it would allow the Portland Marathon to go forward in 2018. Officials had said they would look for a new operator for a 2019 marathon in Portland.

This story will be updated.

— Lizzy Acker

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