Niagara Gazette

Lewiston

June 7, 2013

FBI questions Lewiston officials on possible misuse of town property

LEWISTON —

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and investigators from the New York State Attorney General's Office interviewed more than a dozen individuals in Lewiston on Thursday as part of what was described as an "ongoing matter."

An FBI spokesperson would only confirm that agents had been in the "Lewiston jurisdiction."

"Investigators for the FBI and New York State Attorney General's Office were in Lewiston, N.Y. (on Thursday), conducting interviews on an ongoing matter," Agent Maureen Dempsey said on Friday. 

Dempsey declined to discuss the nature of the "ongoing matter" or the results of the interviews.

Reached by telephone Friday evening, Supervisor Steve Reiter confirmed he spoke to authorities for about two hours. He said the discussion involved "some situations in the town and some past practices" and that agents wanted to see what town officials "were doing about it." 

Reiter described the conversations as involving at least two specific areas — town work on private property and gas usage. 

Both issues were raised as part of a 2011 state comptroller's audit that expressed concern about, among other things, the town's handling of municipal fuel supplies and "questionable" drainage repairs performed by the highway department during the audit period between Jan. 1, 2009 and March 18, 2011. 

Reiter said he was told by investigators that their work was expected to be wrapped "fairly quickly," adding that he believes they were "satisfied with a lot of the explanations for different scenarios."

"Maybe some changes in procedure will come as a result," Reiter said. 

Highway Superintendent Doug Janese said he was approached by a pair of FBI agents on Thursday who asked him about the town's fuel supply. Janese said he told the authorities he felt he needed to contact the town's attorney before answering any questions, which he did.

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