Federal Emergency Management Agency officers have taken even more records from the Clearwater County Courthouse following a July 18 raid that has bewildered local officials.
Two agents on Friday were given a box of records described by County Prosecutor John Swayne as “copies of copies of things they already had.”
They also used a search warrant on Thursday to take documents at the home of Randy Curtis, an engineer working for the county’s flood control command center.
Last month, federal agents accompanied by state troopers gathered up boxes of documents during a surprise raid. The latest actions were done in cooperation with county officials, Swayne said.
“Our position is, we would have been glad to do that in the first place,” Swayne said. Included in the action at Curtis’ home were agents from Emergency Management, U.S. attorney’s office and FBI.
Swayne said Curtis was cooperative and would have turned over anything the agents requested even without a warrant. Swayne said he has advised all county elected officials not to speak publicly about the situation for now.
The probe is said to focus on alleged attempts to defraud the federal government. A federal grand jury is scheduled to convene Tuesday in Boise.
At least seven employees of the flood center have been called to testify, County Commissioner Earl Pickett said. No elected officials have thus far been subpoenaed, Curtis said.
U.S. Magistrate Larry Boyle had approved the July 18 search warrant for “all documents and records, with attachments, that constitute or support claims by Clearwater County, Idaho, for reimbursement” of expenses undertaken within the disaster declared by President Clinton in February 1996.
Sheriff Nick Albers, Curtis and other county officials continue to work with Emergency Management amid the investigation. The county sought reimbursement for $5 million or more spent on repairs after the 1996 floods. About $1 million is yet to come to the county, Swayne said.
The reimbursement money comes through the Idaho Bureau of Disaster Services and all has been accounted for, he said.
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