FBI pulls hospital construction records from Porter Co. government offices

2014-03-10T16:07:00Z 2014-03-11T12:15:05Z FBI pulls hospital construction records from Porter Co. government officesBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | The FBI has resumed its investigation into Porter County government, this time targeting records involving the construction of Porter Regional Hospital.

Plan Commission Executive Director Robert Thompson confirmed that FBI agents visited his office Friday afternoon and again Monday morning seeking copies of building permits for the new hospital and the nearby medical office building at Ind. 49 and U.S. 6.

FBI agents have made surprise visits at various other county departments over the past several months, including the highway department, where they sought records of materials purchased by the Porter County Board of Commissioners in a competitive bidding process in 2010 and 2011.

Porter County Clerk Karen Martin said in December an FBI agent showed up at her office seeking copies of conflict of interest disclosure forms designed to reveal a public servant's financial interest in contracts or purchases involving their government offices.

The FBI also has taken possession of records related to the county 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, Mike Anton, who serves as the servicing agent for the county's health plan, said in November.

Hospital officials on Monday declined to comment.

The medical office building targeted in the FBI's most recent visits was in the news last week when Porter County Councilman Jim Biggs, R-1st, announced he intends to have the structure removed from the hospital's 10-year tax abatement because it has a different owner.

There is nothing in the 2009 abatement agreement indicating the hospital's intention to include more than its main building, Biggs said.

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