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8/11/2017 5:22:00 PM
FBI was looking for fraud, bribery evidence in Terre Haute Wastewater treatment raid
Seized: An FBI Evidence Response Team carries boxes taken from the Terre Haute Wastewater Treatment Plant to a van on July 19. Staff photo by Austen Leake
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Seized: An FBI Evidence Response Team carries boxes taken from the Terre Haute Wastewater Treatment Plant to a van on July 19. Staff photo by Austen Leake

Dave Taylor, Tribune-Star

Information released Thursday in connection with the FBI investigation of the Terre Haute wastewater treatment plant reveals that a federal grand jury is reviewing evidence.

Two subpoenas and a search warrant indicated investigators were looking for “documents and items, in any form, which are evidence instrumentalities and fruits” concerning federal program bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States. A copy of the search warrant and other documents were provided by City Attorney Eddie Felling in response to a public records request from the Tribune-Star. They show that Felling was ordered to appear before a grand jury last Wednesday and on Aug. 3 to produce evidence in response to a subpoena.

That material demanded consisted of the personnel file of the late Mark Thompson, former superintendent of the wastewater utility; files from his home folders; emails addressed to Thompson or the utility’s general account; results of any internal city investigations of Thompson’s business practices;x and minutes of Board of Sanitary Commissioners and Board of Public Works and Safety meetings.

The subpoena also called for records from the city controller’s office related to business the city conducted, claims made, payments received and contracts with several businesses and municipalities. Those entities are Accent, ControlWorx, Terra Solutions, Continental Research Corp., Electrical Automation Services, Renewable Transport and the cities or towns of Farmersburg, Clinton, Shelburn, Dana, Dugger, Attica, Fairview Park, West Terre Haute, Riley, Fort Branch, Clay City, Sullivan and Newport.

Emails to or from persons affiliated with Hannum Wagle and Cline, a Wabash Valley firm, were requested.

Also released today was a list of items seized during the FBI’s July 19 raid at the treatment plant’s administrative offices. Those items included accounts payable records from 2013 through 2015; vendor files, two binders of vendor information; office documents, work orders and manifests from 2016; batch copies from 2015-17; receipts, including sludge receipts, invoices and contracts; city cash receipts, garage inventory, work orders and foreman reports; an HWC engineering document; a variety of computers, laptops, hard drives, thumb drives, a CD, a DVD; and a “Douglis Foli payroll stub, HNC Engineering docs [and] purchase agreements.”

FBI agents raided the city wastewater administration building July 19, removing more than two-dozen file cartons and other evidence. That afternoon, Mayor Duke Bennett said it was his understanding the investigation was focusing on a single, unnamed individual.

On Aug. 1, the city’s Board of Sanitary Commissioners suspended Thompson with pay on the advice of its attorney, Terry Modesitt, who also is the county prosecutor.

Thompson on Aug. 3 took his own life, the same day as the first grand jury meeting. He was found dead that evening of a single, self-administered gunshot wound to the head, according to Vigo County Coroner Dr. Susan Amos.

2017 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.

Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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