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Hayes's bankruptcy to sidestep Oregonian

A recent complaint shows former first lady Cylvia Hayes sought to avoid paying attorney's fees to The Oregonian which it sought the day before her filing for Chapter 13 protection.

PAMPLIN FILE PHOTO - Former First Lady Cylvia HayesA bankruptcy violation complaint by Cylvia Hayes's attorney on July 9 gives some insight into the former first lady's choice of timing in filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy July 3 — the day before a national holiday.

The Oregonian, with which Hayes was embroiled in an ongoing legal battle over the release of her emails, filed a petition July 2 in the Oregon Court of Appeals to collect $16,920 in attorney fees and $473 in legal fees.

Hayes had 14 days to respond, or risk an unfavorable ruling from the court.

The following day, Hayes filed for protection under Chapter 13 "rather than incur the expense of further litigating The Oregonian's petition in the Oregon Court of Appeals," according to the complaint. She also asked The Oregonian to stay or dismiss its petition to collect the attorney's fees and legal fees.

As of July 9, The Oregonian had taken no action to suspend the petition.

Hayes's attorney, Michael Fuller, said the inaction was "willful violation of the automatic stay" from the bankruptcy proceeding.

"… The Oregonian is intentionally dragging its feet to gain leverage against Ms. Hayes, to obtain entry of a preclusive decision against her in the Oregon Court of Appeals, to divert Ms. Hayes's legal resources, to increase Ms. Hayes's legal expenses, causing severe ongoing frustration," the complaint states.

Hayes is seeking declaratory relief, fees and costs and punitive damages from The Oregonian.

A Marion County Circuit Court judge ruled in June 2016 that Hayes owed The Oregonian a total of $125,000 to cover attorney fees the news organization incurred from challenging a lawsuit Hayes filed seeking to keep her emails from when she was first lady a secret. Hayes recently decided to drop her appeal of the judgment.

While Hayes is attacking The Oregonian for failing to stay or dismiss its petition, Hayes herself has yet to complete her bankruptcy filing. The file is still missing crucial information such as her monthly income and specific debts.