Former director of Portland Marathon ordered to pay $865K, barred from race involvement

Lester Smith (2017 KPTV file image)

The former director of the Portland Marathon has been ordered to pay $865,000 and he is now prohibited from being involved in another race.

The Oregon Department of Justice and the Portland Marathon reached a settlement with Lester Smith, a former board member and race director of the event, it was announced Wednesday.

Investigators said Smith operated the marathon for years without meaningful board oversight. During that time, the DOJ reports Smith or his related companies received hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans from the Portland Marathon, which is illegal.

As part of the settlement, Smith must pay the Portland Marathon $865,000, with $50,000 going to the DOJ to reimburse the agency’s investigative costs.

Smith is also barred from involvement in any future foot races or serving as a director, officer or fiduciary for any charitable organization. Smith must also dissolve his for-profit company, Next Events LLC.

Additionally, Smith cannot seek reinstatement from the Oregon State Bar.

"The Portland Marathon is a capstone event in Oregon, and I am hopeful that this settlement will enable more successful events in the future," said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.

The DOJ reported last August it was investigating the Portland Marathon’s status as a nonprofit organization. That occurred as race organizers struggled to receive a permit for the 2017 event, after a permit was initially denied by the city over route concerns and other requirements.

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