An organizer of the 2017 Portland Women’s March was sentenced to 23 months on Thursday for stealing more than $10,000 from the event.
Rebekah Brewis, 39, a transgender activist, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree aggravated theft, the Multonomah County District’s Attorney office announced this week.
Brewis’ organization, PDX Trans Pride, agreed to collect donations and act as the fiscal authority for the march, which gathered to protest the election of President Donald Trump in January 2017. However, PDX Trans Pride was not a registered 501(c)(3) group at the time and thus not authorized to accept tax-deductible donations, The Oregonian reported.
The issue first came to light only weeks after the event when lead organizer Margaret Jacobsen wrote in a Facebook post that PDX Trans Pride was refusing to account for the money raised. She said organizers of the march hoped to use the money to defray costs and pay for future march-related activities.
She said PDX Trans Pride, which she claimed had only one member, Brewis, was holding $22,000 in money raised from T-shirt sales. Jacobsen also said there was no written agreement between PDX Trans Pride and the organizers.
Rebekah Brewis accuses Portland Women’s March organizers of ‘transphobia’
PDX Trans Pride responded to the allegations on Facebook, accusing march organizers of “transphobia” a spreading a “false narrative about our organization and it’s [sic] leaders.”
The website Bonfire sold 3,559 T-shirts, $5 from each – or $17,795 which was supposed to go the march organizers. An additional $1,630 was raised in direct donations via a GoGundMe page.
“We do not know how much was raised from direct donations because we do not have access to those records,” Jacobsen wrote in the Facebook post in March 2017.
Brewis was indicted by a grand jury this past May on three counts of aggravated theft.
In 2000, Brewis, then known as Jorey Brewis, received a 70-month sentence for robbery. Brewis, who was transferred to the Oregon State Hospital after getting caught with a razor, unsuccessfully sued the state twice, according to Willamette Week.
Just after the accusations erupted in February 2017, Brewis posted on Facebook that she was at the Canada-U.S. border and was claiming “refugee status.”
The post included pictures of her at the border patrol gate.
“I have surrendered my citizenship,” she wrote.
In a follow-up post, she said: “Okay, just spoke with the Border agent at length, actually I am returning back tonight then leaving back to Canada.”
“I need to get my cat and a few things.”