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FBI returns for more Springfield records

Republican, The (Springfield, MA) (Published as Union-News (Springfield, MA)) - November 10, 2001

Author/Byline: JACK FLYNN; BARRY; STAFF, Union-News (Springfield, Mass.)

Edition: All
Section: News
Page: B01
Federal investigators returned to City Hall yesterday to gather more records as three city departments resumed business after being
raided Thursday by as many as 30 agents.
FBI agents delivered a subpoena to the Law Department for additional loan documents while City Solicitor Peter P. Fenton and other
officials tried to calm employees at three agencies targeted in Thursday's raid.
"It was a difficult day. I didn't want them to personalize it. They were there for records, not for people," said Fenton, who, along with
mayoral chief of staff John M. Fitzgerald, spoke to employees in the affected departments.
Agents hauled away boxes and file cabinets filled with documents from the Community Development and Auditor's office. They also
converged upon the city-run Economic Development Office and the Hampden County Employment and Training Consortium, both on
Main Street.
A "closed today" sign hung at the auditor's office by noon Thursday, and employees at all three agencies were sent home. The raid came
two days after Mayor Michael J. Albano's re-election to a fourth term over state Rep. Paul E. Caron, who turned the FBI's presence at City
Hall into a major campaign theme.
Caron said he had no comment on the scope or timing of the raid, but added: "Let the facts unfold."
Fenton said the employees at the Community Development Office were shaken when agents took over their offices riffling through desk
drawers, reading e-mails and sifting through bags and briefcases.
"Basically, they read every document in the office," he said.
The agents focused primarily on records from two city lending programs that have given out more than $500,000 to bars, restaurants and
other small businesses, some owned by Albano allies and others with links to organized crime figures.
No one has been charged in the investigation and no evidence of wrongdoing has been made public. The probe was an offshoot of an
illegal gambling investigation that has yielded indictments of 16 people, including the reputed leaders of the region's Mafia faction.
Yesterday, federal investigators returned with a new subpoena for a box of loan records in the Law Department that were not covered by
Thursday's search warrants.
Agents also took some electronic records from the auditor's office that they had been unable to obtain Thursday, Fenton said.
Fenton said he believes the investigation is reaching a conclusion, and that no wrongdoing will be found.
And for all the time, expense and stress involved in the raids, Fenton said both agents and city employees handled themselves in a
"cordial and respectful" manner. At times, Fenton added, "we laughed a lot."
Record: MERLIN_1614851
Copyright: Copyright, 2001, The Republican Company, Springfield, MA. All Rights Reserved. Used by NewsBank with Permission.