Official says FBI agents visited Porter County again this week
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent March 20, 2014 6:40PM
Updated: April 22, 2014 6:39AM
VALPARAISO — Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigations paid a visit to Porter County’s information technology department Wednesday afternoon, seeking information on computer equipment related to the plan commission.
The federal agents were accompanied by Robert Thompson, executive director of the plan commission, information technologies director Sharon Lippens said.
“There’s not a whole lot to tell,” Lippens said.
Agents wanted to know about the computer hardware, including servers, for the plan commission, she said, and wanted the make and models in that office.
“They did not ask for any data,” she said. “They didn’t even mention anything to me about what they were looking for.”
The FBI 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 Ind. 49 and U.S. 6. The original permits are reportedly missing.
This is the fifth time since November the FBI has visited a county office.
In December, the federal agency asked Porter County Clerk Karen Martin about conflict of interest forms filed with her office and the State Board of Accounts, dating back to 2007. She was to testify before a federal grand jury in U.S. District Court in Hammond about those records, but was not called to appear.
In November, the FBI contacted Anton Insurance, the county’s servicing agent for its health insurance, about communication with the Board of 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 took a look at highway department bids and contracts for services and supplies for 2010 and 2011.