GARY, Ind. (AP) — Federal and state agents have searched the northwestern
Indiana office of what is among the largest township government units in the
Agents from the
FBI, IRS and Indiana State Police obtained a warrant for Thursday's search
of the Calumet Township trustee's office in Gary as part of an ongoing
investigation, said Robert Ramsey, the supervisory agent for the FBI office
Details about the
warrant have been sealed by a federal judge, Ramsey told The Times of
Munster and the Post-Tribune of Merrillville.
Agents left the
offices with several boxes and a computer, but no one was detained.
Trustee Mary Elgin has faced scrutiny recently over the office's spending on
assistance to Gary's low-income residents and the use of take-home cars.
Ragen Hatcher said in a statement that Elgin is cooperating fully with
Elgin is suing the
state to stop enforcement of a law approved by the General Assembly last
year that would significantly reduce her control over more than $5 million
in annual spending if she doesn't reduce administrative costs.
That law sets up a
process for the town of Griffith to possible withdraw from the township — a
move that could cost the trustee's office at least $1.7 million. Griffith
officials and residents have claimed for years that they put in far more
revenue to the township than is returned in services.
Council President Rick Ryfa said he didn't know what impact the
investigation would have.
"I am waiting as
eagerly as anybody else to find out what they have found because I have no
clue," he said.
Elgin said in a
recent interview that fighting the 2013 legislation was among the reasons
she decided to seek re-election this year. She is being challenged by Gary
Councilwoman Kimberly Robinson in the May Democratic primary.
"I feel very strong
about the township, township assistance, and helping the needy," Elgin said.
"I feel very comfortable about what I've accomplished, but to leave that
unfinished, I think that's a battle we have not finished yet."