Terry Meiners talks with Paul Barth about life after arrest


by Adam Walser


Posted on December 11, 2012 at 6:49 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 11 at 9:33 PM

(WHAS11) -- On Monday WHAS-TV and radio personality and Crusade Co-Host, Terry Meiners dropped by the restaurant Paul Barth co-owned to find out what happened to nearly $200,000 in missing Crusade money.

Meiners said Barth willingly talked to him for more than an hour-and-a-half, describing how horrible his life has become in recent years.

But even after pleading guilty and being sentenced to federal prison, Barth still refused to answer certain questions.

“He walked out, shook my hand and said ‘let's talk’,” Meiners said.

Meiners and Barth stood side by side yearly during WHAS Crusade for Children telethons, Meiners the longtime host, Barth, the former Chairman of the Crusade Board.

Then Barth was indicted and arrested. Barth eventually pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $200,000 from special needs children.

“My feelings about the Crusade are very strong and I just wanted to talk to him to find out where he went awry, but he wasn't really willing to take me down that path. He only wanted to talk about his current situation,” Meiners said.

Meiners posted his reflections of the conversation on his blog, but was not allowed to record Barth's voice or take his photo.

Barth pleaded guilty earlier this year to embezzling money from the Crusade and the McMahan fire department, where he was the longtime chief.

He was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison.

Meiners says Barth mostly feels sorry for himself these days.

“He's had to run an errand and people see him and they'll scowl at him. People point at him. He looks away. He has to look down,” Meiners said.

“His mind goes a thousand miles an hour and he has to go work at that pizza place just to give him something to do every day. He grinds his teeth and he needs dental work because he's messed up his mouth with that. And there's constant emotional pain for him,” Meiners said Barth told him.

But Meiners says Barth doesn’t bear all of the responsibility for his current predicament and did not apologize or show remorse.

“I said look me in the eye and tell me that you didn't steal from the Crusade for Children,” Meiners said."And then we got into a kind of hazy reply that was really a head-scratcher more than anything else. And then he said ‘That's off the record.’”

Meiners says he also asked Barth about the $266,500 house he recently bought with cash.

“He had a significant amount of money more than he needed to pay to restitution and he chose not to,” said Meiners. “He said, 'I have to protect my family. I need to provide for my family.’”

Barth also told Meiners that he paid attorneys Charlie Ricketts and Thomas Clay more than he owed in restitution.

“I said, you're telling me it's more than $200,000 you've paid you lawyers? And he said 'yes,'" Meiners said.

Meiners says Barth also complained about hostile members of the media, claiming he was unable to tell his side of the story.

WHAS-TV has repeatedly invited him to address the charges to which he pleaded guilty.

“My personal feeling is he's still deeply in denial, but I'm not a trained professional,” said Meiners.