Love notes reveal intimate relationship between former Hodgenvil - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Love notes reveal intimate relationship between former Hodgenville city officials

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HODGENVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The former Hodgenville mayor and city clerk are facing more than just theft charges. The two are now dealing with the release of love letters found in the mayor's desk drawer at city hall.

Love notes spanning from 2008 to 2012 illustrate an emotional and physical relationship between former mayor Terry Cruse and former city clerk Madonna Hornback.

The words of affection were laid out in over forty pages of discovery, released this week after a judge rejected a petition to seal the evidence. Cruse claimed the notes would cause public embarrassment and emotional harm. A judge in the court of appeals decided in early July to allow the evidence.

The notes were written on cards, Post-its, and even the back of receipts. Most of the notes were from Hornback to Cruse. The words "I love you" often closing out each one.

Kentucky State Police seized the letters from city hall as part of a theft investigation.

Attorney for the Hodgenville city council, Michelle Buckley Sparks, says the letters are an important piece of evidence as the Commonwealth tries to prove that the pair was using city gas cards to fill up personal cars.

"This affair clearly illustrates what the motivation is," said Buckley Sparks, referring to the tens of thousands of dollars the pair allegedly stole from the city. "Why would the mayor allow this to happen, and why would a city clerk allow this to happen. It happens because there is collusion."

One of the notes reads: "This relationship is hard on me. But I want it. I love you." Another: "I want to finish what we started at the office yesterday."

Buckley Sparks says the affair adds to concern that Hornback's pay doubled over six years. When Hornback started working for the city in 2007, she made $12 per hour. By 2013, she was making $24.75. Buckley Sparks says over six years, only her first of several wage increases was approved by city council, as required.

"There's no substantiation, there's no authorization, which makes that pay raise illegal," she said. "Why is she getting paid this illegal amount? I think you have to tie it into them having an affair."

Cruse's attorney declined comment. In past interviews with WDRB, both Cruse and Hornback have denied an affair.

The state has petitioned for a change of venue for the trial. They cite excessive media attention in their request. A judge will make a decision on that the first week in August.

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