FBI continues probe into Portage mayor
July 31, 2014
The federal investigators served members of the Utility Service Board with subpoenas earlier this week seeking documents related to Snyder writing checks to pay back the debt, said department Secretary/Treasurer Sherry Smolar.
Smolar said she was working Thursday to fulfill the request.
Snyder said in a written statement the reimbursement was for plane tickets and other expenses related to a city economic development trip to Europe.
"We reimbursed them in the time allotted by the state board of accounts. The PAC and Campaign chose to reimburse the entire trip instead of the normal half as businesses contributed more money than we expected to raise for the express purpose of the trip, so the City incurred no expense for the City trip we took to promote Portage and visit the world headquarters (in Austria) for Portage-based Fronius. We also attended the world Intersolar convention in Munich, Germany as a guest of Fronius, who introduced Portage to a dozen or more potential new Portage businesses," according to the statement.
The request for documents from the utility department comes one week after FBI agents appeared at the Porter County Administration Center seeking copies of campaign records for Snyder.
Sundae Schoon, the Republican director at the Porter County voter registration office, said the FBI agents requested his campaign finance records and records from his political action committee Portage Mayor Elect 2011.
Snyder responded in an email last week that he has done nothing wrong.
"I have been advised that government agents have asked to review my campaign-finance records," he said in the email. "These records are now, and have always been, available to the public on the Internet. In fact, to my knowledge, I was the first public official in Porter County to post such records in a public forum. My campaign has done nothing wrong, and we look forward to this matter being wrapped up as expeditiously as possible," the message stated.
Andre Joseph, who is the City Council's appointment to the Utility Service Board, said FBI agents interviewed him at his home last week.
He said in a prepared statement Thursday, "The Portage Utility Service Board has profited from the growth and enthusiasm of Mayor Snyder. We would have gladly paid for his share of the trip, but he showed great initiative by raising all of the money himself. I believe in the importance of Mayors from cities like ours taking advantage of the global economy. We need jobs, and this Mayor understands that, and I'm proud to serve with him."