Feds still mum on Hermes Vineyards raid

Federal authorities still won’t say why they raided Hermes Vineyards in November.
Emil Whitis
Jan 19, 2013

Federal authorities still won’t say why they raided Hermes Vineyards in November.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently denied the Register’s request for federal records documenting the raid.

“The information you seek pertains to an ongoing investigative matter and all records are therefore exempt from mandatory disclosure …,” the USDA’s denial letter states. “To release any information at this time could interfere with the ability of the investigators to develop relevant evidence and may jeopardize the investigation.”

It’s a standard line given by federal agencies when denying a request made under the Freedom of Information Act, the federal equivalent of Ohio’s Sunshine Law.   

This much is known: On Nov. 2, armed federal agents wearing bulletproof vests stormed Hermes Vineyards and seized some documents.

Then, they disappeared.

Perkins police, who were on hand to provide local support, denied knowing any details of the raid.  

Perkins police assistant Chief Robb Parthemore later admitted to having contact with federal agents in the days leading up to the raid, but he said he didn’t know the specifics. In fact, he couldn’t even name the exact federal agency that was involved.

The Register contacted almost half a dozen federal employees before pinpointing the employee responsible for maintaining the records in the case.  

Winery employees have also refused to comment. One said she’d been instructed not to talk about what happened.

Federal documents show that winery owner Dr. David Kraus, a New York-based psychiatrist, took out a federal small business loan in 2007.  

A local law enforcement officer who didn’t want to be named said the investigation relates to unpaid federal loans.

The Register is in the process of appealing the USDA’s denial of the records request.
 

Comments

WiredMamba666

Firelands Winery is far superior in every way to Hermes.

The picture they used makes the winery look like it is a cow barn.

Contango

I agree, though Hermes has some varietals that Firelands doesn't produce.

Curley

Wired it is probably a cow barn. I go to Firelands all the time they have the best wine available in this area.

Reva

It belongs to the farmer across the road.

Cowboy

It's probably those top secret grapes they have been growing.

underthebridge

A raid by armed federal agents assist by local law enforcement seems like overkill if it were just about an unpaid loan unless it isn't really about unpaid loans.

starryeyes83

It sure ain't about counterfeit grapes, that's for sure.

Second Opinion

Feds are quite about this and Sandusky PD is silent about that preacher who is being investigated for child molestation. We probably wont ever know about either one.

goofus

Because they can!!! Obozo says they can!!!!

reporter54

Feds are quiet not quite. You are not quite literate but we will probably get a second opinion. Anyway maybe funds were misappropriated or something regarding the loan or the owner is under investigation in New York for something illegal. Who knows and who really cares?

Second Opinion

Sad that the only way you can build your self esteem is to find typo's. Must be sad to be so insecure. If the 54 is your age then may I suggest that the days of Ontario School are well past us.

starryeyes83

Why assume a number is someone's age or birth year? It could just be a random number :)

Speakezy

Armed federal agents.... isn't that like saying armed police?

richrs

Who cares?

planb

Big deal. Another SR article "whining" ( no pun intended) because they're not getting their way.

wiredmama222

a doctor David Kraus, NY psychiatrist? he owns it??? And the Feds raid it? HMMMM? Criminal activity? What could that be? Laundering money for some mob or organized crime? Drug money? Selling of drugs somewhere or a drug operation through here from NY? Psycotropic drugs and money laudering?

Why would the Feds be here with bullet proof vests, armed, seizing records? Expecting gunfire back?

Just thinking outloud in type

donutshopguy

Maybe this is the location of Jimmy Hoffa's body.