Historic Truman Courthouse closed through at least Tuesday after ransomware attack | #ransomware | #cybercrime

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Jackson County Administrator Troy Schulte announced Monday that the Historic Truman Courthouse will be closed at least another day due to the ransomware attack that took place Tuesday, April 2.

The Assessment, Collection, and Recorder of Deeds offices are in that courthouse, and they’ve all been impacted by the ransomware attack.

“We’re making good progress on the restoration efforts,” Schulte said during a news conference Monday. “We’ve started system recovery, those types of issues.”

Jackson County residents pay their property taxes either at that courthouse, the downtown courthouse in Kansas City, or they can pay them online, but because of the ransomware attack, you can’t pay your taxes right now. Regardless, Schulte says they’ll try to make things easier for residents.

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“The personal property tax declaration deadline was at the end of this month. We will extend it another month,” he said. “We’re looking at waving penalties and interest. If you hadn’t paid your taxes by December, but you were going to pay your taxes in April, we’ll wave penalties and interest for the month of April.”

Schulte said County Executive Frank White’s office has gotten reports of county residents standing in line at the Truman Courthouse expecting it to open.

“We don’t want people standing out in line at Independence or at any of our buildings waiting for the county buildings to open,” he continued. “We’ll get open as soon as we possibly can, hopefully later this week, but we want to make sure we do it right, and make sure we take the time, and make sure this issue is clean completely out of the county’s networks and more importantly, we don’t have any hiccups going forward.”

Schulte blamed a Russian group for the ransomware attack. He said a Corrections employee was the one who clicked on the suspicious link.

Monday was also the first Jackson County Legislative meeting since the attack. Director of Assessment Gail McCann Beatty presented during it at the downtown courthouse. She says her staff’s gone from about 13 to 21 people, with the newest eight people in training.

“The training is now interrupted,” she said. “The IT took about six of our computers, so hopefully we’ll have those back by the time we are able to start back up.”

McCann Beatty said people are showing up at the Truman Courthouse at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. They are closed currently because of the attack though.

Monday was also the first meeting since Jackson County voters rejected a sales tax for both the Chiefs and the Royals. Because of the rejection, the leases for each of the teams expire with the county in January of 2031. Jackson County Legislator Manny Abarca supported a 3/8ths cent sales tax that would have kept the Chiefs in the county for another 25 years at least, giving them a renovation to GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

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That sales tax would have also kept the Royals in the county for at least another 40 years, giving them money to help build a new ballpark in the East Crossroads. White did not support the tax with 58% of the voters in the county siding with him, not supporting the tax, 42% did.

“What is our strategy going forward to maintain both the Chiefs and the Royals in Jackson County?” Abarca asked.

“Well, you’re advocating for them to go to Kansas, so I don’t know if that’s a good strategy or not for an elected official in Missouri to have,” White replied. “But my goal is to reach out to the teams, and see if I can get them back to the table, so we can try to move this thing forward.”

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White was referring to comments Abarca made Tuesday, April 2, saying that if he were Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, he’d be calling Kansas City Chiefs President Mark Donovan asking them what it would take to get the Chiefs to move to the Sunflower State.

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