The FBI continues to investigate records of Porter County Government and has
reportedly seized more documents, this time from both the County Clerk’s
office and the County Highway Department.
County Clerk Karen M. Martin told the Chesterton Tribune this morning
that an FBI agent came to her office December 3 and asked for “books
containing miscellaneous records” that held Indiana Form 236s, or conflict
of interest disclosure statements for all types of local government units in
Porter County, from 2007 to 2013.
Indiana Code requires public officials to file disclosure statements within
15 days prior to final action of a contract or purchase to the County
Clerk’s office and the Indiana State Board of Accounts, Martin said. The
forms ask officials to disclose descriptions of the contract or purchase and
their financial interest as well if it is a single transaction or an annual
Martin, who did not identify any public officials who had filed a disclosure
form, said the FBI did not indicate what the interest of the investigation
was but did tell her “the clerk’s office had done nothing wrong.”
The FBI also subpoenaed Martin to appear before a grand jury in U.S. Federal
Court’s Northern District of Indiana, located in Hammond, on Wednesday, Dec.
18 pertaining to the investigation and to bring with her certified copies of
the disclosure statements.
Martin said she did not know what she would be questioned on since this is
her first time before a grand jury. “This is all new to me,” she said.
Porter County Highway Superintendent Al Hoagland also told the Chesterton
Tribune this morning that the FBI had come to his department on Nov. 14
and took copies of “various bid proposals on projects from 2010 and 2011.”
Hoagland, for his part, said that all of the information seized was public
information and also on record at the county auditor’s office. The FBI did
not tell Hoagland why they were searching his records.
The Chesterton Tribune reported on Nov. 26 that the FBI subpoenaed
records from Anton Insurance relating to the Porter County Commissioner’s
contract with Porter Regional Hospital for clinical services provided to the
county employee health plan, which was signed in December 2012.
Both Mike Anton of Anton Insurance and County Commissioner President John
Evans, R-North, told the Tribune that the contract process and
proposals collected were done in a transparent and open manner and they were
unsure why the FBI was investigating.