Oregon First Lady Admits Sham Marriage

The fiancee of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber admitted Thursday night that she married an 18-year-old Ethiopian immigrant in 1997 to secure him a green card. Cylvia Hayes said she married Abraham B. Abraham in exchange for $5,000 when she was 29 and he was 18. They had met a few times prior to the nuptials and never lived together. "It was a marriage of convenience," Hayes wrote in a statement. "He needed help, and I needed financial support." Hayes said she used the money to pay school expenses and buy a laptop.“This was a difficult and unstable period in my life,” said Hayes during an emotional press conference. “I was struggling to put myself through college and was offered money in exchange for marrying a young person who had a chance to get a college degree himself if he were able to remain in the United States." Hayes said she did not declare the income in her taxes, and she is unsure of what legal consequences she will face. She said Kitzhaber had no prior knowledge of the marriage, which ended in 2002. "The fact that I did not disclose this to him meant that he has learned about this in the most public and unpleasant way,” she said in a statement.