Chesterton Tribune



FBI returns to county to download computer files

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The FBI returned to the Porter County Information Technologies Department Monday to collect computer data pertaining to the plan commission.

IT Director Sharon Lippens confirmed the presence of FBI agents in her office from about 10 a.m. to about noon on Monday.

“They came in and said, ‘We need access to whatever the Plan Commission has access to.’ I didn’t ask why and they didn’t tell me,” Lippens told the Chesterton Tribune this morning.

Lippens said the FBI did not tell her what data they were searching for but that she gave them the access they requested. The Plan Commission computer servers hold electronic copies of issued building permits.

The FBI brought in their own hard drive to download the information to and were once again brought in by Plan Commission Executive Director Robert Thompson, Lippens said.

Thompson took FBI agents to the IT Department last Wednesday to ask Lippens specific details on the Plan Commission’s computer server such as the serial number, the make and model.

Thompson has declined to comment to avoid impeding the investigation.

He did say earlier this month that the FBI has entered his office on more than one occasion asking for copies of the building permits for Porter Regional Hospital and the 60,000 sq. ft. medical office building attached to it.

While newer versions of the permits are available, the original handwritten copies for the two buildings have reportedly gone missing from the plan commission office.

The hospital is located in Liberty Twp. on the northwest corner of Ind. 49 and U.S. 6.

County officials have reported numerous visits by the FBI since November.

The bureau has taken 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 Department.


Posted 3/25/2014




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