The owner of a controversial new Oregon mega-dairy told police last summer he uses meth every day and has patronized a dozen prostitutes in two countries.
And he offered to make a donation to charity to prevent his arrest, a move that “teetered on bribery,” according to police records recently obtained by the Statesman Journal related to the Aug. 19 prostitution sting he was ensnared in.
California dairyman Greg te Velde, 59, opened Lost Valley Farm a year ago to supply the Tillamook County Creamery Association, which makes Tillamook Cheese. The Boardman operation, which is permitted to have up to 30,000 animals, has had a string of problems since.
Reached on his mobile phone Wednesday, te Velde declined to comment.
Law enforcement officials in Tri-Cities, Washington, about 30 miles from the dairy, coordinated the undercover prostitution sting and arrested te Velde on charges of patronizing a prostitute and possessing methamphetamine.
On Dec. 6, 2017, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unlawful use of drug paraphernalia and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, with 87 days suspended. He paid $260 in court costs and a $250 crime victim assessment.
According to the Richland Police Department incident/investigation report, te Velde answered ads placed on Craigslist and backdoor.com by an undercover police officer, stating he wanted to pay $100 for a half hour of “full service.”
“Based on our training and experience, the street crimes unit officers know the term “full service” is the term used for sexual intercourse,” the report reads.
Te Velde arranged to meet the undercover officer at 12:30 a.m. in a room at the Richland Holiday Inn and Suites, where police were live-streaming from a hidden camera.
As te Velde was arrested, he tried to hide a glass, meth-style pipe in the chair he was lying next to, according to the report. He also had a large amount of $100 bills and a white crystal substance that field-tested positive for methamphetamine.
“Te Velde claims he purchases a half-ounce of methamphetamine while in California and transports it to Oregon/Washington via his carry-on luggage,” the interviewing officer wrote. “Te Velde further admitted that he uses methamphetamine every day and that he did earlier this day.”
Te Velde also had a package of generic Viagra pills, called Vidalista 60, and said he had taken one an hour before arriving at the hotel, according to the report.
“Te Velde told me that he has patronized about a dozen prostitutes in his lifetime to include in China, but that this was the first within the Tri-Cities,” the officer wrote. “Te Velde is a regular at the Riverside (strip club in Umatilla) and knows adult women in that area that prostitute themselves. Te Velde described himself as a lonely man with money that likes to go to strip clubs and gamble.”
Te Velde, who lives in Tipton, California, told the officer he traveled to Oregon about once a month to check on the dairy, and said his companies make about $100 million per year.
“Te Velde expressed multiple times that this arrest would cause him substantial issues within his business and teetered on bribery offering to make a donation to charity if he were not arrested.”
Lost Valley Farm has been controversial since 2015, when te Velde bought about 7,000 acres of the former Boardman Tree Farm and announced he would move his existing, leased dairy 14 miles, expanding it form 8,000 to 30,000 cows.
More than 4,100 people and a dozen state and national health and environment organizations raised concerns about possible air and water pollution, excessive water use, and health impacts on nearby communities.
Between April 2017, when it opened, and February 2018, the dairy failed numerous environmental inspections, was cited four times, and was fined $10,640.
In February, Oregon regulators sued to effectively shut down the dairy, saying it was endangering nearby municipal and private wells by mismanaging manure and wastewater.
Last month, the state reached a settlement with the dairy that will allow it to operate in a limited capacity until it can prove that its wastewater treatment system is fully functional.
The dairy also refused to comply with Oregon water law, failing to register groundwater wells for months, then using a loophole in Oregon law to pull water out of an underground aquifer that’s been off limits to new wells for four decades.
Meanwhile, te Velde is facing multiple lawsuits from creditors.
Among those is a suit filed by Rabobank, a multinational agricultural lender, seeking to foreclose the dairy in connection with the foreclosure of two dairies te Velde owns in California.
The Tillamook County Creamery Association will stop purchasing milk from the dairy at the end of April, spokeswoman Tori Harms said.