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Another FBI visit to Porter County offices

VALPARAISO — FBI agents made their second visit to Porter County’s information technology department in less than a week, downloading data related to the plan commission on Monday.

Information technologies director Sharon Lippens said four agents, including two who came to her office March 19, arrived with external hard drives. She said she did not know what they were after.

“They did not include me in the downloading,” she said, adding that no equipment was removed from her office and the agents arrived at mid-morning and stayed until early afternoon.

They were accompanied by Robert Thompson, executive director of the plan commission, as they were last week when they sought information from the IT department about the plan commission’s computer hardware, including servers.

The FBI also was in the plan commission office March 7 and 10, asking for copies of building permits for the construction of Porter Regional Hospital and an adjacent medical office building, both located at Indiana 49 and U.S. 6.

The FBI has made repeated visits to county offices since November.

In December, agents asked Porter County Clerk Karen Martin about conflict-of-interest forms filed with her office and the State Board of Accounts, dating to 2007. Martin said she was to testify before a federal grand jury in Hammond about those records but was not called to appear.

In November, the FBI contacted Anton Insurance, the county’s vendor for employee health insurance, about communication with the county commissioners regarding the county’s contract for its clinic services.

In December 2012, commissioners reviewed four bids for clinic services, including one from HealtheAccess, the county’s clinic provider at that time, which had the contract for several years. Commissioners selected the hospital for that contract.

Also in November, the FBI seized records of highway department bids and contracts for services and supplies for 2010 and 2011.



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