Alderman Carrie Austin's Chicago office raided by FBI agents

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The FBI confirmed Wednesday that agents conducted court-authorized law enforcement activities at the Chicago office of 34th Ward Alderman Carrie Austin on the Far South Side.

Alderman Austin spoke at a summer anti-violence program announcement with Mayor Lori Lightfoot earlier in the day.

"Today is a day that truly God has made, because he made us star of the show," she said at that event.

Shortly after, federal agents raided her ward office at 111th and Normal. Alderman Austin's home is across the street.

"I have no reason to believe that she was aware of the search warrant that was executed at her ward offices and we were together this morning," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

Donyetta Jenkins owns the property next door and asked agents what they were up to.

"I said, 'You look very official, what is going on here,' and he said, 'We were fixing the pipes.'" Jenkins said. "I said, 'You're pulling my leg,' and he said, 'We are fixing the pipes.'"

Not exactly dressed like plumbers, agents took out boxes of evidence. What they are looking for remains unknown, but the probe is likely part of an ongoing investigation into City Hall that began with the arrest of longtime Alderman Ed Burke. He was indicted on several corruption charges several weeks ago.

Despite the recent indictment of Alderman Burke, Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, said she had no knowledge that a raid on Austin's ward office was in the works.

"Any time the FBI executes a search warrant of an elected official's government office, it's a shocking development," Lightfoot said. "So I know what you know, which is not a lot at this point, and as I said before we will continue to monitor the circumstances and see where and how it goes."

Austin was the longtime chairman of the powerful budget committee until Lightfoot stripped her of her chairmanship. The alderman's former opponent in the last election was not surprised by the day's developments.

"They raided Burke's office and it resulted in charges and we are just waiting," said Preston Brown Jr. "The Feds don't come raid your office for no reason. I'm sure they've got something and something will stick."

No federal charges have been filed against Alderman Austin yet.

Austin has served as 34th Ward alderman since 1994. While some are not shocked about the raid, other Roseland residents said she has been a good alderman.

"Got to keep an open mind, that is what I'm thinking, I think she is a good alderman, she is good for the community," said Kevin Madison, 34th Ward resident. "I wouldn't think nothing like that for her, but who know what politics do right."
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