Letter to The Anderson News re: Fiscal Court statement by Magistrate Meredith Lewis

Immediately following Anderson County’s November 2, 2021 Fiscal Court meeting, The Anderson News posted an all-caps, BREAKING NEWS story on their Facebook page: Homeschool kids would not be allowed to play youth basketball.

This “breaking news” was not only premature — an update/clarification would soon be added — it served as a distraction from real breaking news: a stunning statement from Magistrate Meredith Lewis as to the “misrepresentation and outright lies of certain reporting” and her startling claim that a “breach of confidentiality is inexcusable from the County’s legal advisor.”

I have attached Magistrate Lewis’s full statement below, but the basics are these:

  1. On October 19, Lewis sought legal counsel regarding a confidential fiscal court matter from County Attorney Robert Wiedo.
  2. After a week of receiving no response from Mr. Wiedo, Lewis had to make a 2nd inquiry.
  3. When Mr. Wiedo finally responded, he included two other county employees and the branch manager of Kentucky Waste Management on the email, making all of these parties, as Lewis stated, “privy to partial information without my knowledge or consent.”
  4. “It took less than 12 hours,” her statement reads, “for word on the street to be that I had reported this to the state when in fact it was Mr. Wiedo who took it upon himself to handle in a manner that I view as disrespectful, unethical, and unprofessional.”

After the meeting I asked Lewis why she made her statement. She said, “I gave Judge Gritton the opportunity to address this matter and make the Fiscal Court aware of what took place as well as to correct the action taken by Mr Weido. To my knowledge, as of the date of my statement, he had done neither.”

There are clearly questions for County Attorney Wiedo — who recently announced he is running for re-election — which must be answered and shared with the public.

Maybe Editor Ben Carlson did not immediately report Magistrate Lewis’s shocking statement on the newspaper’s Facebook page because he did not yet have the full story — this would normally be a fair argument — but then why was the youth basketball story posted within minutes of the meeting’s end as all-caps BREAKING NEWS?

I was in the room for the Fiscal Court meeting. You could have heard a pin drop as Lewis spoke. I promise you youth basketball was not the breaking news coming out of that meeting. So why did The Anderson News promote it as such when there was, in fact, real breaking news? This was misleading, at best.

I asked Lewis what she meant specifically when she said, in her statement, that there was “misrepresentation and outright lies of certain reporting?”

“Ben Carlson, the editor of The Anderson News, has been twisting my words and the issues surrounding my district, my actions, and my motives for months,” Lewis told me. “And anyone present in a Fiscal Court meeting who reads one of his articles or opinion pieces after the fact knows it. I did not trust how the rumors directly related to Mr Wiedo’s recent actions would be used in the newspaper based on [Carlson’s] obvious biased reporting against me. When citizens have met with him to clarify his inaccuracies related to me or the issues, he refuses to correct or retract those false statements or state the facts presented to him. I have learned, through experience, he will only twist my words to fit his narrative. Ben Carlson has rarely contacted me for clarification on issues. He did, however, contact me this week after my statement.”