By Ethan Barton
Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided a local city hall in New Jersey seeking evidence of corrupt payments, theft of federal funds, extortion, wire fraud, money laundering and other similar crimes.
Federal agents have been probing the city government in Orange, New Jersey since July, 2016, when they seized dozens of documents, computers and hard drives from a local library. The city has received numerous high-profile federal and state grants to renovate the library and a YWCA it purchased.
Agents from a veritable plethora of federal departments including the FBI, the Department of Housing and Urban Development Inspector General and the Internal Revenue Service were seen entering city hall Wednesday, NJ Advance Media reported.
Investigators sought computers from three Orange employees: Water Department Chief Anthony Carey, former Deputy Business Administrator Willis Edwards and Chief of Staff Tyshammie Cooper. All three were named in the FBI’s previous warrants seeking documents from the library.
Documents of interest concern the library’s HVAC system, its Saturday literacy program, janitorial services and all of its financial dealings since Dec. 1, 2013.
City computers were also examined for data-destroying software.
The library paid Edwards – a former New Jersey assemblymen – $25,000 for consulting work after he stepped down from his role as Orange business administrator. He repeatedly told NJ Advance Media there was nothing improper and that his inclusion on warrants is because of his position with the city.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office also requested documents regarding Orange’s purchase of the previously mentioned YWCA and its conversion to a recreation center, an Aug. 9 subpoena obtained by NJ Advance Media reveals, in addition to documents related to city water services and health and wellness programs for seniors.