PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The FBI raided the Spring Garden Street headquarters of IBEW Local 98 on Friday morning. The FBI confirmed to Eyewitness News that agents were “carrying out court-authorized law enforcement activity” at the building housing the Philadelphia electricians’ union.
Federal agents carried boxes, presumably with evidence inside, from the Local 98 headquarters in Spring Garden on Friday morning to unmarked vehicles.
The FBI was tight-lipped over its investigation but did confirm agents were “carrying out court-authorized law enforcement activity” at the buildings. It’s the second time FBI agents have searched the Local 98 Union headquarters. The first raid happened in 2016.
Last year, union leader John Dougherty, Philadelphia City Councilman Bobby Henon and six others were indicted following a 30-month federal probe.
The indictment alleges that Dougherty and co-defendants conspired to embezzle Local 98 money for their own personal benefit and to benefit their families, friends, and their commercial businesses. They allegedly spent thousands of union dollars on expensive family meals and personal items, including food, baby supplies, dog food, hair styling items, clothing, home improvement projects and much more.
Dougherty is also accused of using union money to pay Henon so he would do his bidding from his seat on City Council.
Dougherty, Henon and the six other co-defendants all deny the charges.
FBI officials say they are unable to comment further at this time as it relates to the federal indictments.
In a statement Friday night, a lawyer for IBEW Local 98 said they “have no idea why the Feds staged today’s made-for-TV event.” Here’s the full statement:
“John Dougherty has been under federal scrutiny for 28 years and has never once failed to cooperate. Everything they took today, they either took previously or could have simply asked for it and we would have turned it over. John Dougherty has the entire Philadelphia Building Trades working safely and at full employment in the midst of a pandemic. He met the opioid abuse issue that hurt his members head on and beat it. His leadership on economic opportunities has re-energized the city. And now we get another orchestrated federal raid? The timing is curious, as well. Here we are less than three weeks from a Presidential Election. Two weeks ago, the Philadelphia Building Trades, which John Dougherty also leads, unanimously endorsed Joe Biden for President. Two days ago, Local 98 hung a massive Biden For President banner on its union hall. And today, the Feds raided Local 98 again. That seems more than coincidental. Local 98 has no comment with respect to the specifics of the search warrant inasmuch as the Union has no knowledge as to the scope or specific focus of the government’s apparent investigation. Local 98 continues to work hard representing its members and would like to remind the public, and the media, that the Local Union has not been charged with any crimes in connection with the indictments that were issued in 2019.”
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