Belleville News-Democrat reports
in a brief story on its website this morning that FBI and IRS agents served a subpoena at East St. Louis City Hall yesterday afternoon and spent several hours collecting "all of the city's tax increment finance records from January 2008 to Wednesday" from the office of city manager Robert Betts.
An assistant in East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks' office tells RFT the mayor is attending a meeting in Springfield, Illinois this morning and could not offer a comment on the latest round of raids. Betts did not immediately return a phone message inquiring about the search.
Yesterday's searches came less than two months after FBI and IRS agents raided Parks' office on March 26 and took files related to an investigation the mayor has said involves "unlawful solicitation of money regarding liquor licenses." Parks told the BND he's unsure if the two searches are related.
The liquor-license investigation and the closely related issue of crime in the city's nightclubs is the subject of this week's RFT
feature story; click here
to give it a read and get a whole lot of context on the issue.
There is, however, one statement from Parks that didn't make it into our story but is somewhat pertinent to news of the latest searches. When asked if he was surprised by the FBI's March raid, Parks replied:
"In my mind, the FBI never left [East St. Louis City Hall.]
The FBI never left after the voter fraud investigation
in 2004. That's why it's not a completely surprising situation for me. We know that people have been watched probably for a number of months."