Preacher says his house has addicts, not drug dealers
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The only place at the corner of Herman and Coleman busier than the bus stop was the house next to all the students walking by. A neighbor, who asked to not be identified, asked me to investigate 3240 Herman Street.
“It’s supposed to be a transition home,” the neighbor wrote, “but it's nothing more than a crack and heroin spot. All hours of the day and night there's constant flow of traffic to this location."
Over the past two weeks, afternoons or evenings, I recorded as many as 15 people per hour coming and going from the large house. They could be seen counting something in their hand when they emerged. Traffic was often stacked up in the street out front. There were hand-to-hand transactions outside too. Police told me when scores of people are seen coming and going from a home after spending a couple minutes inside, it’s likely a drug house.
“Nurses and all types of people are buying heroin on the first floor,” the neighbor added. “And crack is delivered by a black car."
Every time I watched, day or night, I recorded a black car stopping in the street. Someone from inside the home walked out the second it pulled up, looked around, reached in and grabbed a couple handfuls of something, walked back inside the house, and the car whisked away. The only time I could get a shot of what was in hand, it appeared to be money. And the flurry of people coming and going from the house continued.
We traced the license plate of the black car to a 37-year-old Louisville man who had been indicted twice for cocaine trafficking, being a felon with a gun, and he served prison time. During one of these rendezvous, we popped up and walked up to ask them some questions. The driver took off.
“Excuse me sir, I'm John Boel with WAVE 3,” I said. “I'm responding to a complaint about this house right here being a drug dealing house.”
“Ain’t no drug dealing in this house,” the man said. “I don't want to be on TV. I don't want to be on TV.”
“When this black car comes each day and you go out there, what are you getting from him?” I asked.
“Ain’t getting nothing man, go on with that,” he said.
“Sir I have video of a lot of people coming and going from here. I mean like 6, 8, 10 an hour coming and going from here,” I said.
“No you don't,” he said.
“No I really do,” I said.
“That can't be,” he said. “Got the wrong guy, got the wrong house."
I found the owner of the house a couple blocks away at his car detailing shop where I told him about the neighbor's complaint and what I observed. It turns out he is a preacher.
"I run a pretty tight ship,” Kingdom Come Church pastor David Fortney said. “I pastor a church and all I do is give a person a place to stay and if they have money then they rent a place. But I don't have a drug house. I don't have a mad house."
“You sound like you've heard this complaint before?” I asked.
“Well, I always hear it,” Fortney said. “I’m an ex drug addict myself. 28 years clean."
The following day Pastor David Fortney invited me to Kingdom Come Church where he has preached for 12 years.
"Prison saved my life,” Fortney said. “It took the heroin, took the cocaine, it took the crack, it took the alcohol, it took all street activity. I graduated from it, so I speak against it because I don't condone it."
He said he owns about 40 properties and in many of them, like Herman Street, he's just trying to help people.
"Sometimes when I get too many jobs it's hard to be a landlord and it's hard to be a preacher,” Fortney said. “Because you cannot be omnipresent. Omnipresent is the only thing the Lord has the attribution of being. He can be everywhere at once. I am not omnipresent.”
After hearing what I found, he said he went to the house, talked to the tenants, and told some to leave.
“The people over there, they’re nothing but addicts,” Fortney said. “There ain’t no drug dealers in my building. Those people are addicts. They got habits.”
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