TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Elections

April 9, 2014

YouTube video stirs controversy about campaign sign

CORBIN — Click here to see the video

By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

A video that has gotten some attention throughout Whitley County implies one action — however, there appears to be much more under the surface that indicates that action isn’t all that it appears.

The video was uploaded to the internet website YouTube on March 25 by an anonymous person calling themselves “Lucy Ricardo.”

More than 2,000 views have been afforded this video, which is approximately one minute and six seconds long.

The video is a black and white, semi-grainy surveillance video, and at the top it says the action portrayed was captured at 9:20 p.m. on Thursday, March 13. Snowflakes can be seen snaking across the screen.

In the foreground of the video sits a black SUV-looking vehicle parked in a driveway.

Beyond that is what appears to be a residential road.

In the background, traffic from I-75 is visible racing back and forth across the screen — mostly tractor-trailers.

The video opens with a set of headlights shining down the street, and right away in the headlights a small sign can be seen.

Six seconds into the video, the vehicle shining the headlights can be seen. It’s also SUV-looking, and stops just short of the aforementioned sign.

A tall figure emerges from the driver side of the vehicle, and crosses in front of the headlights, walking in the direction of that sign.

The figure takes a short leap over a ditch, then yanks the sign from the ground and returns with sign in hand to the vehicle.

The driver turns around in a neighboring driveway, then leaves the area.

That figure was current Whitley County Judge/Executive Pat White Jr. — and he’ll be the first to admit that certainly was him.

But he will also tell you who owns the sign he held in his hand which he yanked from the ground that night — it belongs to him and his campaign.

White is the incumbent in a race for the county’s Judge/Executive seat — he is being challenged by current 3rd District Magistrate Jamie Fuson.

According to White, there is an ongoing dispute between neighbors on Little Bell Young Road in Emlyn.

The dispute, according to White, involves the boundary of a county road.

“Associated with that dispute has been an incident involving a gun and large building being burned,” White said, adding that after the fire, he, County Attorney Bob Hammons, the county surveyor, the sheriff’s office and a Kentucky State Police arson investigator converged at the scene. It wasn’t clear the exact date when the fire took place.

However, remnants of the burned structure still stand behind the residence. Also at that same location is an oddly-placed chain link fence, which appears to end in the middle of the road.

“The county surveyor began work to document and map the county road, which was part of this dispute,” White said. “(Hammons) gave instructions that the access be left open until the surveyor’s work could be complete and a thorough professional opinion could be given.”

That’s when White says the political sign came into the picture.

“Soon after this meeting on the scene (of the fire), a sign for (me) appeared in the yard of (one of the two parties involved in the dispute),” White explained, adding he learned of the sign’s location from Barbara Cox, a neighbor to those disputing parties, during a pie supper. “Ms. Cox had the impression from the sign that I may have been taking sides in the dispute.”

He said that he assured her he was not siding with either party in the dispute.

“(I will) rely on the professional opinions of the county attorney and county surveyor,” he explained to Cox, adding that he needed no signs in either yard, as a county road was part of the dispute. “I advised her that on the way home from the pie supper I would stop and remove my own sign.”

The video has been spread to various parties through text messages, emails and other sources with the implication that White is stealing campaign signs.

“There appears to have been obvious efforts to deceive people about the circumstances of this video,” White said. “But all the neighbors in this area know whose sign was present and the video system should have recorded earlier that day whose sign was in the yard.”

He reiterated that the sign removed was, in fact, his own.

“If there were full disclosure in this matter it would be clear that I moved my own sign,” he said. “At one point or another, candidates move, replace or repair their own signs. It’s pretty hard to ‘steal’ a sign that has your own name on and it and was paid for by your own campaign.

“I will not — nor will I ever — take another candidate’s signs.”

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