Brinley Hineman, Nancy De Gennaro, Scott Broden and Helen Comer Murfreesboro Daily News Journal
Published 2:58 PM EDT Jul 17, 2019
The Murfreesboro Police Department was executing a search of Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron’s insurance company in downtown Murfreesboro Wednesday morning.
At the scene on Church Street were one marked MPD patrol car and multiple unmarked vehicles. At least five officers, along with several photographers, were going in and out of Universal International Insurance, owned by Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron.
MPD spokesman Larry Flowers confirmed to The Daily News Journal at the scene that the search was related to ongoing insurance fraud investigations involving the Ketron business.
Kelsey Ketron, a Tennessee Republican Party official and daughter of Mayor Ketron, has been accused of fraud in cases related to Ketron’s insurance company, for which Kelsey is the vice president.
“I was surprised and shocked of the search warrant at the office,” Mayor Ketron told the DNJ. “As an elected official, I have always been transparent and I am cooperating with all that’s requested, and time will only tell us what happens next.”
Mayor Ketron is expected to hold a news conference Wednesday afternoon to address the allegations of fraud surrounding his daughter and his insurance practice.
Two police officers at the door were keeping visitors from entering the building.
Trey Harwell, the attorney for Kelsey Ketron and Universal International Insurance was not allowed into the business early Wednesday afternoon. He said his clients will fully cooperate with the authorities.
Harwell said he believed the warrant was issued by a General Sessions court judge, but he hasn’t received a copy of it. There was no warrant on file with the Rutherford County General Sessions Court clerks early Wednesday afternoon.
The attorney said he’s only heard of MPD’s involvement in the raid but nothing indicating the involvement of federal or state authorities.
Kelsey Ketron investigations
The police investigation involves Wade T. Hellemn, of Lebanon, and water damages to his home. He filed a complaint with Murfreesboro police on March 11 saying he had paid $4,000 for homeowners insurance.
“Mr. Wade stated that since 2013 he has been a customer with Universal Insurance,” a police report filed by officer Chris Pitts said. “When he filed a claim in 2018, he found that no policy had been taken out for him.”
The police report lists an investigation of possible felonies: Impersonation of licensed professional; theft of property; forgery/counterfeiting; misappropriation of Veterans Memorial Funds; and embezzlement.
Kelsey Ketron also faces a May 29 state cease and desist order accusing her of fraudulent insurance practices pertaining to Susan Calvin and Charles Daniel Calvin of Shelbyville.
The Calvins filed a complaint June 2018 with Murfreesboro police. The homeowners filed a lawsuit, as well, after learning they were uninsured to cover $127,230 in damages from a frozen pipe that burst January 2018, court records show. The Calvins are seeking $500,000 and legal costs.
Rutherford County District Attorney Jennings Jones has recused himself from the case, he said Wednesday. In the civil cases, all the local judges have recused themselves.
“We will allow another district attorney’s office to make the determination whether or not to seek an indictment,” Jones said.
This is a developing story, and it will be updated.
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