The racketeering trial of John Olson, former owner of TeSoAria Vineyard & Winery in Roseburg, which has already been postponed three times, is now scheduled to take place in Deschutes County in September.

The Sept. 7 date for the jury trial was chosen by Deschutes County Circuit Court Judge Wells B. Ashby during a hearing Friday.

Olson founded TeSoAria in 2011 and it quickly became a favorite among wine lovers. The winery on North Curry Road in Roseburg grew quickly, but Olson took on much debt to pay for the growth. Court records show that he borrowed nearly $1 million from Oregon Pacific Bank in a two-year period from May 2014 to June 2016, and soon fell behind on repaying the loans. Oregon Pacific Bank filed a complaint in 2018 to get its money back, beginning a legal entanglement that continues to this day.

Olson ran into more trouble with money he got from investors, including one main investor named Thomas May, who lived in Bend. Authorities said May wrote Olson several checks between 2009 and 2015 totaling about $450,000, in the form of loans and investments. Those loans were supposed to be used to purchase equipment and property for TeSoAria. Instead, Olson “made Ponzi- style payments to other investors and he misappropriated funds from Mr. May to himself and his wife to finance their lavish lifestyle,” authorities said.

Authorities also said Olson lied to investors about the financial condition of TeSoAria — including not mentioning the $1 million he owed to Oregon Pacific Bank — in order to get them to support him.

Olson, who will turn 56 on Dec. 16, lives in Bandon. He was arrested in June 2019 and charged with grand theft and racketeering. He was booked into the Deschutes County Jail then released on $150,000 bail, which was later reduced to $100,000.

Olson’s trial was originally scheduled for June 2020, but it was postponed due to COVID-19. A second trial date was set for February 2021, but that was also postponed. A third trial date was set for Nov. 30, but that too was postponed, this time to provide more time for both sides to prepare for the complex case.

Scott Carroll can be reached at scarroll@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

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