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FBI reviews Porter County highway contracts in ongoing looking into Porter County government

Updated: January 15, 2014 6:11AM

VALPARAISO — The Federal Bureau of Investigation is apparently taking a broad look at Porter County, as investigators last month inspected highway department bids and contracts for 2010 and 2011.

Highway supervisor Al Hoagland said an agent stopped by his office Nov. 14 to make the request, and returned the next day for the documents.

In recent weeks, the FBI also has sought information regarding the county’s contract for health clinic services and, most recently, asked Porter County Clerk Karen Martin about conflict of interest forms filed with her office and the State Board of Accounts.

She is scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury in a criminal case about those forms on Dec. 18. Martin is not implicated in the FBI’s research.

Hoagland said he provided what the investigator requested and did not receive a subpoena, as Martin did.

“They just asked for some various copies of contracts and bids for supplies and services in 2010 and 2011,” Hoagland said, adding the contracts are done every year.

He declined to specify what types of contracts and bids the investigator was after. He routinely presents bids before the Porter County Board of Commissioners for everything from asphalt to fuel.

“It’s all public record,” he said, adding the bids and contracts also are on file at the county auditor’s office, but investigators came to him.

In December 2012, the Porter County Board of commissioners reviewed bids for health clinic services, including one from HealtheAccess, the county’s clinic provider at that time, which had the contract for several years.

Commissioners ultimately selected a bid from Porter Regional Hospital for the services.

Mike Anton, principal with Anton Insurance, the servicing agent for the county’s health insurance plan, provided communication related to that contract last month to the FBI.

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