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Things are not looking good for the campaign of Democrat presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg after the FBI raided the South Bend, IN Housing Authority just one day after Buttigieg took the stage at the second Democrat debate.
The Housing Authority, though not a part of the official city administration, was personally appointed by Pete Buttigieg as mayor of South Bend.
Take a look at news of this that broke out on Twitter following the FBI raid:
In response to the raid, Buttigieg released a statement attempting to distance himself from the Housing Authority.
Take a look:
South Bend Tribune has more details on the raid:
The South Bend Housing Authority was closed without warning Wednesday, as FBI agents appeared for unspecified reasons at both the housing authority’s offices and at least one home owned by the agency.
Several agents were seen going in and out of an employee entrance at the rear of the building on Alonzo Watson Drive, just south of Western Avenue. Two trucks with trailers were parked nearby. A uniformed St. Joseph County police officer was also at the scene.
At the main entrance of the housing authority’s offices, a sign was posted that read: “Closed for day. Re-open 8-1-19 8:00 AM.”
FBI agents also visited another property on the city’s south side Wednesday morning. Neighbors, including Shelly Jackson who lives across the street, said agents showed up at 1980 E. Thornhill Dr. home around 9 a.m. According to property records, that home is also owned by the housing authority.
FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jim Keszei said he could not comment and referred questions to a spokesman for the office of the U.S. attorney for northern Indiana.
The spokesman, Ryan Holmes, said Department of Justice regulations prohibited him from confirming or denying the existence of an investigation, but that he could “confirm there is federal law enforcement activity going on in the South Bend area.”
The purpose of the FBI activity was not clear. But the housing authority has faced criticism over mismanagement in recent years, including federal government reports which, between 2013 and 2014, found the agency was plagued by financial woes and owed $500,000 in misused funds that should have been distributed to poor families.
At that time, the federal government reported the housing authority’s board of commissioners had inadequate knowledge of the agency’s finances, failed to monitor operations to catch the misuse of money and did not provide sufficient oversight of day-to-day staff.
The findings led the government to classify the housing authority as “troubled,” and in early 2015 South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg replaced the entire board. The mayor appoints the board of the housing authority, which is funded through federal dollars, and that board of commissioners oversees the agency’s executive director and staff.
The New York Times also stated:
F.B.I. agents raided the offices of the Housing Authority of South Bend, Ind., on Wednesday, the second potential distraction back home for the presidential campaign of the city’s mayor, Pete Buttigieg.
No one was arrested during the raid, in which evidence collection teams visited the housing authority’s headquarters on Alonzo Watson Drive about 1 p.m. with a police officer and United States government trucks.
The agency, which runs nine low-income housing facilities in South Bend and is financed by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, has been beleaguered by complaints of financial mismanagement for much of the decade.
Such concerns prompted Mr. Buttigieg to replace all six commissioners on the housing authority’s board in 2015.
Mr. Buttigieg, 37, distanced himself from the agency in a statement issued by the mayor’s office, which emphasized that the housing authority is an autonomous entity.
“Earlier today the mayor’s office became aware through local media reports of today’s law enforcement action at the Housing Authority," Mr. Buttigieg’s statement said. “While the Housing Authority is not part of the city administration, the mayor is concerned and will be closely following the situation.”
In June, Mr. Buttigieg briefly left the campaign trail after a fatal shooting of a black man in South Bend by a white police officer, which sparked protests in the city of just over 100,000 people.
Law enforcement officials declined to comment about the nature of the raid on Wednesday.
“Department of Justice regulations prohibit us from either confirming or denying the existence of an investigation,” Ryan Holmes, a spokesman for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana, said in an email. “However I can confirm there is federal law enforcement activity going on in the South Bend area.”