Federal authorities are sorting through files and computers confiscated from the Surveyor’s office in Lake County, Indiana. No one is saying what’s behind the investigation.
About a dozen FBI agents arrived to the office in Crown Point late Tuesday morning. Office employees were told to leave and not come back for two hours as documents and computer hard drives were taken under subpoena.
The elected surveyor, George Van Til, would only issue a written statement.
“This is a total surprise to me and I’m not really aware of exactly what’s going on and what the authorities are looking for or at. I can’t answer any questions at this time. We will assess this situation later,” Van Til said. “It’s important for everyone not to jump to any conclusions. This is not the first time the FBI has been in a government office here nor will it be the last time I’m sure.”
The FBI office in Indianapolis declined comment.
An elected county official, who asked not to be identified, believes the investigation centers around Van Til’s possible use of county equipment for his re-election campaign.
A longtime Northwest Indiana politician, Van Til’s been the county surveyor for the last 20 years. The office’s primary responsibility is flood control, along with collecting and storing county geographic information. In early May, Van Til won the Democratic primary. He faces a little known Republican challenger in the fall.
John Dull, who serves as the attorney for the Lake County Commissioners, the executive branch of county government whose office is just down the hall from Van Til, said he does not know what the FBI is investigating.
“I don’t have any indication of what the subject may be. I don’t know. They did not give me a subpoena,” Dull said. “I learned about it when two people came in and that they were passed up by the people as they went up to the surveyor’s office and that’s when I learned it.”
Lake County government and some of the cities that are within the county, Gary, Hammond and East Chicago, have seen their share of public corruption scandals over the years.