The Washington Times - October 18, 2009, 05:48PM


Richard and Mayumi Heene met in acting school according to Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden.  A failed actor, Mr. Heene sought to look for fame through the reality show Wife Swap. Today, authorities say he and his family made a hot-air balloon and a story built on a fabrication. Robert Thomas, a former associate of Mr. Heene’s,  wrote a piece for illustrating Mr. Heene’s desire to be famous for something…anything:

One night, when Richard and I were sitting and talking, he brought up Wife Swap, and specifically a confrontation he had with a woman on the show who claimed to be a psychic. They very much disliked one other. Richard said, “Well, think about it. We were the 100th episode of Wife Swap. And why are we the most recognized Wife Swapfamily and episode? It’s because of the controversy. I don’t care what people say about me as a person, but the fact of the matter is that they know who I am.” has broke down how much Mr. Heene’s drive for fame costs:


$40,000 in additional costs for ambulances, fire and police, personnel in three separate counties during the four hour balloon chase and subsequent hunt for Falcon Heene. 
$20,000 in helicopter costs for Colorado Army National Guard scrambling two helicopters to help. 
$20,000 in media costs to cover the event with helicopters and crews scrambling across state to cover the event. 
$5,000 in damaged wheat crops and insurance claims after the balloon landed on the Abbot Family’s farm. 
$15,000 in miscellaneous costs with people taking time off work around world to watch the event or those who volunteered time to help search for Falcon Heene.

The Associated Press reports  officials had to rerout planes around the balloon’s flight path and briefly shut down Denver International Airport.  Mr. Heene got his wish.  He became famous.  While his fame appears to be based on an intentional hoax, he has already lied to himself about one thing. He does care what people say about him as a person, and no amount of fame in this circumstance will likely make him feel any better.