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Residents, businesses negatively impacted by Independence courthouse's closure after cyberattack

banks couple speaks on closure .png
Posted at 6:51 PM, Apr 12, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been over a week since the Historic Truman Courthouse in Independence temporarily closed after a ransomware attack hit the county.

This meant tax payment offices remained closed, and other services like inmate searches and marriage licenses are offline.

“We took today off to come down here, so yeah, you can imagine how we feel,” said Angie Banks. She and her fiancee, Andrew, went to the courthouse today for their marriage license.

They are getting married in one month, which is exactly how long a couple has to have a ceremony after getting their license.

“This has been planned for a really long time, and here we are, and here we are disappointed,” Banks said.

The county is waiving all penalties and interest from April as a result of the ransomware attack, but the impact is still being felt.

KSHB 41 saw over a dozen people approach the courthouse doors in a span of 30 minutes thinking the courthouse was open.

“I was driving around and I was like, ‘Woah, nobody here. Alright, I’m the first one.’ That’s why nobody’s here, because it’s closed,” said Gary Rising, who was there to get a receipt for his property taxes so he could register his boat in Missouri.

The emptiness Rising saw is a stark contrast to the long lines the courthouse has been notorious for.

“I got up here one time early in the morning," Rising said. "Man, there was a line going clear down the sidewalk."

Despite online information about the closure, many people like the Banks aren’t learning about the closings until it’s too late.

With their unplanned free time, some people decided to explore the Independence Square, which is full of businesses like El Pico.

The restaurant is across the street from the courthouse, giving employees like Xavier Coleman a front row seat to the courthouse lines.

“Especially after COVID, since it’s been just the one courthouse, we see lines all the time. Just people pouring in and out,” Coleman said. “Like, we see traffic, traffic, traffic.”

Not only does the closure impact their view, but also their pockets.

“I’ve seen a decrease in sales a lot this past week,” Coleman said. “Our mornings have slowed down a lot. We usually have high-volume traffic in the mornings from the courthouse.”

The county announced plans to soft launch its re-opening Tuesday, April 16.