Auditor Robert Wichlinski told the Chesterton Tribune this morning
that FBI agents have been regularly coming to his office to collect copies
of various contracts, payroll information, sales disclosures and other
documents since their investigation into local governments began a little
less than a year ago.
“They let me know
when they want to see something. I just give them what they ask for and
don’t ask questions and they don’t tell me anything,” said Wichlinski.
Their most recent
visit to the Auditor’s office, late Monday morning according to Wichlinski,
was to obtain information related to the Promenade development, located
between Lincolnway and LaPorte Ave. to the north of Valparaiso University.
FBI obtained two sales disclosures on the six parcels that make up the
promenade and various aerial images of the property generated by the
County’s GIS System.
Wichlinski, the Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission is listed as the seller
on sales disclosures and a private developer as the buyer.
The project has
been under development since 2010.
Wichlinski said the
FBI also asked for a “handful” of other “stuff” Monday, but would only
confirm the documents related to promenade as what the FBI sought.
Office holds copies of tax information from the assessor and recorder’s
office, deeds and records for sales transactions across the county, which
Wichlinski said is why the FBI frequently consults his office. All the
information at the auditor’s office is public record, said Wichlinski,
adding that the FBI has not accused him of any wrongdoing.
He said agents make
requests for documents “typically every other week” from his office.
Wichlinski in April
reported that the FBI asked him for copies of 2013 payroll records of the
The FBI has
reportedly visited other offices within the Porter County Administration
Building. Last month, agents stopped in at the Voters Registration Office to
collect campaign finance reports for Portage Mayor James Snyder.
In March, agents
collected copies of building permits for Porter Regional Hospital, and its
adjoining medical center, from the Porter County Plan Commission. They also
downloaded records from the Plan Commission office from the County’s
computer server in the IT office.
In addition, the
bureau has sought documents related to the December 2012 contract between
the County Commissioners and Porter Hospital for clinical services in the
County’s Employee Health Plan, conflict of interest disclosure statements
filed in the County Clerk’s office from 2007 to 2013, and project bid
proposals related to 2010 and 2011 contracts with the County Highway