Bladine: A dubious decade of financial trickery

There no longer is any doubt: J.W. Millegan of McMinnville is smart, competent, slippery, financially adept, and gifted in using legal ploys to delay or overcome civil and criminal convictions. All of which, until now, might have qualified him to be Donald Trump’s running mate in 2024.

This month, a U.S. District Court jury in Portland convicted Millegan of tax evasion. He awaits 2023 sentencing, plus trial on wire fraud charges. To date, he seems to have avoided conviction of criminal investment “churning,” and there’s no discussion of bankruptcy fraud.

Here’s a summary of Millegan’s exploits from 2009-2016:

He earned many millions of dollars providing financial investment services, and reported those earnings to the IRS. He put millions of dollars in hidden bank accounts used to pursue his own lavish lifestyle. Fraudulent financial statements submitted to the IRS helped him evade paying a $2.5 million tax bill.


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

In that same time line, clients accused Millegan of illegal “churning” — over-trading of investment accounts to earn excessive commissions. In 2016, they obtained a civil judgment against Millegan of about $460,000, which would exceed $700,000 today with interest.

Millegan, however, closed his financial agency, filed for bankruptcy, stiffed those clients, and set up a new series of family hedge fund operations to continue his dream of building a world-class equestrian center in Oregon. This week, a representative of those former clients commented:

“Millegan never paid a dime. I hope the judge gives him the max!”

Five years ago — with a search warrant based on an IRS affidavit — the FBI raided Millegan’s McMinnville home and two storage units; three years ago, the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a federal indictment; in March, the judge denied Millegan’s last-ditch effort to suppress evidence gathered in the 2017 FBI search.

In 2017-18, Millegan embarked on a passionate personal mission to discredit the Evergreen Aviation Museum, the city of McMinnville and, with greatest gusto, this writer and newspaper. He said we were all complicit in the financial fraud/ruin of Evergreen’s then-landlord, disgraced empire-builder Steve Downs.

Ironically, during that libelous campaign, Millegan claimed that Downs improperly transferred funds from one entity to another. He also distributed a doctored photo of me with a clown nose, which, unfortunately, I’m unable to find for possible inclusion in my bio scrapbook.

Turns out, Downs was not criminally charged; Evergreen came back stronger than ever; the newspaper continues publication; and Mr. Millegan definitely has lost any opportunity to join the national presidential ticket in 2024.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.



Maybe Trump and Millegan could share a jail cell and figure out how to be better criminals.




Is this the same guy that tried to buy the Mack theatre and had insane plans for it?

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