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FBI agents search home of Atlantic City’s first-term mayor

December 3, 2018
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FBI agents search the home of Mayor Frank Gilliam Jr., Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, in Atlantic City, N.J. The FBI's Newark division confirms agents are at Gilliam's house Monday executing a search warrant. It wasn't immediately known what prompted the search. (Kristian Gonyea//The Press of Atlantic City via AP)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Federal agents searched the home of Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam Jr. on Monday, but authorities and the mayor himself were tight-lipped about what prompted the raid.

Agents in dark blue FBI windbreakers carried white cardboard boxes out of the house, which is about a mile from Atlantic City’s casinos. Earlier they removed a computer and a printer, stashing the items in dark sport utility vehicles.

Outside the home, FBI agent Jessica Weisman said, “We are here in an official capacity, executing a search warrant. That’s all we can say.”

Gilliam emerged from the home shortly after 12:30, ignoring shouted questions from reporters. He then got into his personal sport utility vehicle and drove away.

A spokeswoman for the mayor’s office said it remained open Monday, though Gilliam was not there.

IRS agents also were on the scene, a spokesman for the service’s criminal investigations unit said Monday.

Phone and text messages left with Gilliam seeking comment on the investigation were not returned. It was not immediately clear whether he had hired an attorney.

There was no indication that Gilliam had been charged with a crime as of late Monday afternoon; no court proceeding involving him had been scheduled in federal court, where cases arising from FBI investigations are heard.

City Council President Marty Small, who would become acting mayor if Gilliam resigned, said city government continued to function.

“It’s important for people to know that it’s business as usual,” Small said. “It’s important that we don’t get distracted.”

Lisa Ryan, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Community Affairs, said it had not taken any action against Gilliam, adding the department is “aware of and monitoring the situation in Atlantic City.”

The city remains under state supervision under a takeover law signed into law by former Gov. Chris Christie.

As agents were walking in and out of Gilliam’s home, a man driving a car with the Atlantic City logo on its sides drove slowly past it, extending his middle finger to reporters gathered outside.

Gilliam, a Democrat, is in his first year as mayor. The former two-term city councilman defeated Republican incumbent Don Guardian in November 2017 in a contentious election in which Guardian alleged voter fraud by Gilliam’s campaign.

In April, a judge threw out a criminal complaint against Gilliam over the alleged theft of a $10,000 check from the Atlantic City Democratic Committee. The committee had accused Gilliam and a former campaign manager of unlawful taking when Gilliam deposited the committee’s $10,000 check into his campaign account.

Gilliam said it was a mistake and later returned the money.

Last month, Gilliam and several other people were involved in an early morning fight outside an Atlantic City casino that was caught on surveillance video.

Local prosecutors announced last week they wouldn’t file criminal charges, though citizen’s complaints filed against Gilliam and Councilman Jeffree Fauntleroy were pending in municipal court.

Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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