Chesterton Tribune



FBI visits Auditor's Office, seeks Porter County health insurance documents

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The FBI popped into the Porter County Auditor’s Office on Wednesday, seeking documents related to the county’s common health insurance plan, Auditor Vicki Urbanik told the Chesterton Tribune today.

“They specifically requested documents related to the plan offered to county employees,” Urbanik said.

Urbanik’s staff was able to provide the FBI with some of the documents on the spot--a couple of plan handbooks, for instance--but needed time to print some digital files as well as to copy other material. Urbanik said that she planned to hand-deliver those additional documents to the FBI’s Merrillville office this afternoon, as she was already going to be in the neighborhood for a training session.

Urbanik noted that the Auditor’s Office is the repository and clearing house for all of the county’s financial records and as such is the obvious place for an FBI agent to visit when he or she wants information on Porter County’s ways and means. “My office is not being investigated,” she said. “I want to make it clear my office is not the subject of any investigation. The Auditor’s Office is the record keeper of the county’s financial documents, so it makes sense for the FBI to come to us for any records they’re interested in. But their request for documents in no way, shape, or form reflects on this office.”

The FBI last visited a county office--the Auditor’s Office, as it happens--on Aug. 10. About a week before that, on Aug. 4, the FBI had visited the Assessor’s Office to request documents related to appeals of commercial properties between 2012 and 2013.

The Tribune was also informed that the FBI was seen entering the Porter County Commissioners’ offices. But no Commissioner ever confirmed that report.

The FBI’s investigation--if that’s what it is--began--so far as anyone knows--in November 2013, when agents sought documents related to the County Commissioners’ employee wellness contract with Porter Regional Hospital, signed in December 2012.

Since then the FBI has obtained conflict of interest disclosure statements from 2007 to 2013; payroll information for the County Expo Center from 2013; bid proposals for 2010 and 2011 contracts with the County Highway Department; and building permits for Porter Regional Hospital and the adjacent medical center.

In July 2014, the FBI obtained Portage Mayor James Snyder’s campaign finance reports and the Citizens for Snyder political action committee’s 2011 finance report.

And in September 2014, the FBI obtained copies of two sales disclosures related to the Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission’s Promenade project.

The FBI has made no statement regarding its interest in Porter County and has declined to comment on the document requests.



Posted 12/3/2015




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