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State reconvenes grand jury in Golovan campaign finance case

The Ukrainian activist helped Portland City Council candidate Emilie Boyles obtain public election funding
by: Courtesy of Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, Volodymyr Golovan

The state Department of Justice has reconvened a grand jury today to consider whether to file criminal charges against Volodymyr Golovan, the Ukrainian activist who helped former City Council candidate Emilie Boyles obtain public funding.

Golovan collected most of the 1,000 signatures that qualified Boyles to receive $145,000 in city funding for her May primary bid against Commissioner Erik Sten. Those signatures later came into question based on an Oregonian investigation that found many of the signatures appeared to be written in the same handwriting. Based on apparent violations of the city's public campaign financing rules, City Auditor Gary Blackmer has demanded she repay the city.

The grand jury first met last month to consider possible charges against Golovan, but no indictment was filed. It's unclear why the grand jury is reconvening now, but such a development is typical in cases in which prosecutors feel more witness testimony is called for.

Department of Justice officials would not comment on the case and it is unknown whether the investigation has focused on potential violations of election law or possible charges of criminal fraud.

Golovan, who founded the Portland Russian and Ukrainian chambers of commerce, in November 2005 was appointed by Mayor Tom Potter to his Vision Project Committee. According to a mayoral spokesman, Golovan is no longer affiliated with that project.

Blackmer said Boyles has repaid about $68,000, but still owes about $95,500, including penalties and interest. He said the city is preparing to file papers to collect the money in Montana. That's where Boyles was last known to be working, for a television station.