Did you hear? Rumor causes ruckus

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

Did you hear? A couple of weeks ago, on Nov. 30, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Kentucky State Police raided the Henry County Courthouse. They took computers and financial records.

No, wait, that’s not right.

They raided Henry County Planning and Zoning and, in addition to taking computers and financial records, shut the Planning and Zoning office down.

You didn’t hear that? Hmm. If you didn’t, you must have been under a rock a couple weeks ago.

When an anonymous caller shared the first version of that rumor with me on Dec. 1, I was mildly skeptical. I asked what time this supposedly happened, and was told it happened around 11 a.m.

I have to say, I found that a bit interesting, considering I spent about four hours of Nov. 30 at, of all places, the Henry County Courthouse. Those four hours included the very time this “raid” was supposedly happening. There were no men in FBI jackets running around seizing anything that I could see.

Now, the caller did tell me something that I knew was partially true – she said there were Kentucky State Police cars parked around the courthouse. There was at least one KSP cruiser, but being Monday, that trooper was on hand for District Court.

In fact, there wasn’t even any chatter among courthouse employees about anything out of the ordinary.

My “source” said the sheriff and judge-executive knew about it. So, naturally, I called Henry County Judge-Executive John Logan Brent to ask about the rumor.

He hadn’t heard it, at least not the version I was told. He heard a different version, the one where Planning and Zoning gets shut down. I knew well enough on my own that Planning and Zoning was open, as I’d called and talked briefly with Planning and Zoning Secretary Diana Berry that morning, before my anonymous tipster rang in.

Brent informed me that all computers were still in place and no boxes of anything had been hauled out by the FBI, KSP or little green men from Mars. Well, okay, he didn’t say that last part.

We can, of course, only speculate how this rumor got started. But it is just that – a vicious, and incredibly stupid rumor.

Ordinarily, we would dismiss rumors as just that. But when Magistrate Mike Fisher heard the rumor in Lockport, it was pretty obvious this rumor had sprouted some very long, very fast moving legs.

So how did it get started? We can only speculate. But a few of us pulled up Google and looked for FBI and New Castle. And here’s what we found:

Indianapolis businessman Tim Durham, who has financial offices in Indy and Akron, Ohio, was raided on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Durham’s companies are the subject of an FBI investigation and may also have links to accusations of “ghost employment” by two New Castle police officers. New Castle ... Indiana. Which, oddly enough, also is the Henry County seat.

It could be a case of a Google news alert horribly misinterpreted. I skim read with the best of ‘em, and sometimes do a double-take on the news alerts in my gmail account.

I have multiple news filters, including Henry County and New Castle. And though I specified Kentucky, I still get countless news alerts for those communities of the same name in Indiana.

So no, while I hate to disappoint you, there was no FBI raid at the Henry County Courthouse in Kentucky or Indiana. Planning and Zoning still is up and running.

The grain of  truth that I once heard exists in relation to every rumor does exist in this case, but not in Henry County, Kentucky.


Jonna can be reached at editor@hclocal.com