Assessor Attorney Christopher Buckley confirmed with the Chesterton
Tribune and other media Tuesday that agents from the FBI’s Merrillville
offices came to the Assessor’s office that morning and asked for documents
regarding appeals of commercial properties between 2012 and 2013.
In a statement,
Buckley said that agents asked to speak with the Assessor’s Director of
Commercial Operations for the information but “were not equipped with
subpoenas from the U.S. Attorney’s office, and therefore, did not retrieve
or review any individual appeal records.”
The agents did not
specifically state what information they were interested in, Buckley said.
Buckley told the
Tribune on Wednesday that the appeals in question were exclusively for
commercial properties and were settled by the Assessor’s office before they
would have been assigned to the Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals.
Included in appeal
cases is non-disclosure information that would require a subpoena in order
to be obtained, Buckley said he told the agents. The agents then left the
building, and it’s possible they may return, he said.
Buckley said it was
about 10 a.m. when the agents arrived at the Assessor’s Office inside the
County Administration Building in Valparaiso and they left at approximately
County Assessor Jon
Snyder declined to comment on the matter.
This is the second
time in the past two months the Tribune has received reports of the
FBI seeking to investigate Porter County Government offices. Witnesses
reported seeing agents enter the County Commissioners’ office in June, but
no one from the Commissioners’ office would make comments regarding the
The FBI in November
2013 took documents related to the December 2012 contract between the County
Commissioners and Porter Regional Hospital concerning the employee wellness
plan. Since then the agency has also acquired conflict of interest
disclosure statements from 2007 to 2013, payroll information for the County
Expo Center from 2013, bid proposals related to 2010 and 2011 contracts with
the County Highway Department, and building permits for Porter Regional
Hospital and its adjacent medical center.
In July 2014,
agents began looking into Portage Mayor James Snyder’s campaign finance
reports and the Citizens for Snyder political action committee finance
report from 2011.
agents entered the Porter County Auditor’s Office and obtained copies of two
sales disclosures related to the Valparaiso Promenade development involving
the City of Valparaiso’s Redevelopment Commission.
The FBI has not yet
made public any results or indictments.