A history of recent FBI subpoenas in the city of Orange

ORANGE, NJ — A fourth Federal Bureau of Investigation subpoena served to the city of Orange in April has come to light, and an attorney from the law firm of Kritchley, Kinum and DeNoia met last week with the Orange City Council to discuss it.

According to council members, Mayor Dwayne Warren’s administration and the Orange City Clerk’s Office, the April subpoena was for information related to a $350,000 service contract with an information technology business that the council majority approved in a 2015 meeting. Copies of this subpoena and the resolution approving the contract are on file in the Clerk’s Office; however, the Record-Transcript was unable to secure copies by press time this week.

The details of the subpoena served on city hall on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017; on the Orange Public Library on Thursday, July 21, 2016; and on City Hall on Friday, July 2, 2016, are known. Copies of warrants and subpoenas related to FBI investigations are on file with the Orange Clerk’s Office.

Federal agents issued the Warren administration and former city attorney Dan Smith a subpoena to testify before a grand jury on Friday, July 22, 2016, in relation to the raid on the Orange Public Library on Thursday, July 21, 2016. A few months later, FBI agents raided Orange City Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, and shut it down for the day.

“A search warrant was executed by the FBI in the city of Orange Township,” said Orange Public Information and IT Director Keith Royster on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. “City Hall was closed on Jan. 11, but opened Jan. 12 at 8:30 a.m. The city is cooperating with authorities.”

The subpoena of Friday, July 22, 2016, was signed by William T. Walsh, the clerk for the U.S. District Court of New Jersey. It was a follow-up to the search-and-seizure warrant for the Orange Public Library, signed by Judge Leda Dunn Wettre and executed Thursday, July 21, 2016.

Both the warrant and subpoena were related to the FBI’s ongoing investigation into allegations of theft of federal government funds; theft and accepting corrupt payments concerning an organization receiving federal funds; conspiracy to commit theft and accept corrupt payments; wire fraud; conspiracy to commit wire fraud; extortion under color of official right, conspiracy to do the same; and money laundering at the library by city officials.

The ongoing investigations are tied to a $48,000 federal Housing and Urban Development Department grant received through Essex County then repaid to the county after questions about its origin and use arose that attracted the FBI’s attention. Essex County officials have denied any wrongdoing in relation to the $48,000 HUD grant.

The search-and-seizure warrant signed by Judge Michael A. Hammer that the FBI executed at Orange City Hall on Jan. 11, 2017, requested information relating to “evidence and instrumentalities of violations from Aug. 1, 2012, to present,” indicating the FBI has been looking through records of transactions by members of the Warren administration since he was sworn into office July 1, 2012.