The campaign manager for Deschutes County Commission candidate Amy Lowes has at least one criminal conviction and owes more than $17,000 in two recent small-claims judgments in Deschutes County. But Lowes says those experiences are assets.
Since June, Bend-based public relations consultant Kristy Sinsara has managed the campaign for Lowes, a Democrat running against incumbent Republican Tony DeBone. At the same time, Sinsara has been fighting two recent judgments from her former landlady and a Bend children’s book author who says Sinsara’s public relations firm didn’t fulfill a contract.
Sinsara, 44, has a history of legal issues that includes a 2007 conviction for obtaining money by false pretenses and a 2015 lawsuit — ultimately dropped — from Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil, who was a client and alleged that Sinsara refused to return access to his social media accounts.
Lowes said she was aware of these incidents.
“I did do my due diligence and did a little research on Kristy,” Lowes said. “I believe that this is completely overblown. I’ve actually been there when she received phone calls from Vince Neil, and there’s no bad blood there.”
Lowes said she thought Sinsara’s experience handling personal controversy made her a good fit as a campaign manager.
“I really weighed what Kristy was bringing to the table,” Lowes said. “I thought that was actually an asset to have somebody who was able to handle controversy.”
Sinsara has started and then dissolved multiple magazines and public relations firms during the past four years, according to business records filed with the Oregon secretary of state.
Two of those magazines — short-lived lifestyle publications Bend Level and Issue Magazine — employed Cylvia Hayes, the embattled fiancée of former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber. Hayes began writing for the magazines several months after Kitzhaber resigned because of a federal investigation into Hayes’ role in an influence-peddling scandal.
Before coming to Bend, Sinsara was sentenced in 2007 to five years of probation after pleading no contest to obtaining money by false pretense in Oklahoma City. The state said she told a woman she worked as a paralegal for a local attorney — which she did not — and collected money.
In 2010, Nevada’s Department of Business and Industry imposed a fine of $10,000 on Sinsara, alleging that she worked as an unlicensed loan modification consultant.
In March, Sinsara was ordered by Deschutes County Circuit Court to pay Bend property owner Carie Romain a judgment of $7,949 in unpaid rent. According to Romain’s complaint, Sinsara did not pay rent at her Northwest Crossing townhome from October 2017 to January 2018, paid with a bad check and had to be found by a private detective after the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and Tri-County Legal Process Services were unable to locate her.
Romain attempted to garnish the money owed from Sinsara’s bank account, but it was closed. Romain said she’s now trying to garnish Sinsara’s wages from her job on Lowes’ campaign, but Sinsara has threatened to sue her for doing so.
Sinsara characterizes the judgment as a landlord-tenant issue, not one that has anything to do with the campaign. She described Romain as a “diehard” Republican and DeBone supporter who wanted to undermine Lowes’ campaign. While Romain is a Republican, she said she is not a supporter of DeBone or involved in Bend politics because she lives in Arizona and just owns property in Bend.
Sinsara downplayed the judgment as a default judgment Romain was only able to obtain because Sinsara was not in the state to appear in court. She said she plans to sue Romain for stalking and extortion, and that she plans to file a restraining order against Romain.
“This makes this a full-blown case of stalking, extortion, all kinds of legalities,” Sinsara said. “It’s insane what she’s done. She has attempted to annihilate every aspect of what I am and what I’m doing.”
A second judgment of $9,254 was awarded June 11 — less than a week after Sinsara announced her new role on the campaign — to Kelly Windolph, author of the Safe Space series of children’s books that aim to help children understand topics such as religion, ethnicity and blended families. Windolph contracted with Sinsara’s firm, Echo Social PR, to illustrate her books, create a website, send query letters to publishers and market the books.
Windolph’s judgment was against Sinsara and her girlfriend, Ashtyn Ryan, who was Echo Social’s creative director and now coordinates fundraisers and plans events for the Lowes campaign.
Windolph declined an interview after talking to her attorney, but she said in a statement that she tried to resolve the issue before going to court.
“I am speaking with an attorney to have the judgment enforced as no monies have been received,” Windolph said. “I would just like the money listed on the default judgment and all the extra costs I am paying out to enforce the judgment.”
Sinsara said she plans to prove that Romain and Windolph are cooperating to attack her and undermine the Lowes campaign.
“At this point they’re just trying to use my status as the campaign manager for Amy Lowes,” she said. “Normally I would just roll over and not do anything, but believe me, I will be acting aggressively in a court of law.”
In an email, Sinsara wrote she would provide information about Windolph and Romain’s credibility, but she later said she had nothing to share.
She said she still plans to sue Windolph and Romain, and to continue focusing on the campaign she’s running.
“One of the No. 1 reasons Amy hired me as a campaign manager was not just my experience working on campaigns but my experience dealing with character assassination,” Sinsara said.
— Reporter: 541-633-2160; firstname.lastname@example.org