FBI takes more records from Porter County government

2013-12-11T19:24:00Z 2013-12-12T14:01:13Z FBI takes more records from Porter County governmentBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com
December 11, 2013 7:24 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | The FBI has made another surprise visit to Porter County government in search of records.

The target this time were conflict of interest disclosure forms designed to reveal a public servant's financial interest in contracts or purchases involving their government offices.

Porter County Clerk Karen Martin, whose office maintains the disclosure forms for public servants of county, municipal and other units of local government, said the FBI agent served her with a subpoena for the records Dec. 3.

Martin said the agent made it clear her office had done nothing wrong, yet she did not know the target of the investigation. The agent, she said, had interest in specific disclosure forms and the general index listing everyone, who had filed.

The FBI had taken possession last month of records related to the Porter County Board of Commissioners' decision Dec. 18, 2012, to switch the provider of wellness and clinic service for county employees from HealtheACCESS to Porter Regional Hospital's CareEXPRESS, saidĀ Mike Anton, who serves as the servicing agent for the county's health plan.

The subpoena served to Martin calls on her to testify before a grand jury in a criminal case Dec. 18 at the federal courthouse in Hammond.

The conflict of interest disclosure form in question begins with a paragraph explaining it is a Class D felony for a public servant to knowingly have a financial interest in or derive a profit from a contract or purchase carried out by the government entity they serve.

The public servant filling out the form is then asked whether the disclosure of financial interest applies to a single transaction or a yearlong event. Details of the contract or purchase in question is called for, as is information about the public servant's financial interest.

An attorney with the Indiana State Board of Accounts, which is to receive a copy of the disclosures along with the county clerk within 15 days of the event in question, declined comment on the purpose and role of the forms.

It appears five county officials filed conflict of interest disclosure forms in 2013.

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