FORT LAUDERDALE—A federal corruption probe in Broward County appeared to be expanding today, as FBI agents returned to Broward County government offices and announced plans to interview dozens of employees.
Broward County Transportation Director Chris Walton said agents showed up at his office around 12:45 p.m. and requested to meet with him. He described the interview as very general.
He said they asked for no records and did not mention any specific contracts. The agents asked how he knew Eggelletion, and he told them he only knew him professionally from county government.
Walton said the agents told him that he is the start of the questioning of many more.
They haven't given me a list of who they want to interview," County Administrator Bertha Henry said. "They can interview whoever they want to interview."
School Board member Beverly Gallagher, County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion and former Miramar City Commissioner Fitzroy Salesman were arrested and charged in a public corruption probe Wednesday.
FBI agents showed up at the Governmental Center shortly after arresting Eggelletion at his home. Agents interviewed Eggelletion's staff at the time, but took no records and did not search his office.
On Thursday, federal investigators focused largely on two fronts: the school district, and allegations of contractor misconduct in the city of Miramar, where two businessmen were accused of helping to pay bribes to Miramar officials.
Government agents who questioned school district officials wanted to know about the process of awarding construction contracts, whether contracts could be steered to selected companies and about lobbyists' influence on the School Board, according to district officials who spoke on condition of not being identified.
The agents also asked about the school district's controversial audit of payments made for repair work after Hurricane Wilma struck in October 2005, the sources said.
They wanted to know about the work done by AshBritt Inc., and whether the company's lobbyist, Ron Book, had been in touch with School Board members, the sources said.
Book told the Sun Sentinel he hasn't been contacted by the feds himself, and didn't know why they would be asking about him.
"I've got a couple of small clients that have been at the School Board. I don't do much business at the School Board," Book said. He said he had had "maybe, in the last five years, three conversations with Beverly Gallagher."
Lobbyist Neil Sterling also was mentioned in the interviews, the sources said. Sterling is registered as a school district lobbyist for eight companies, including architectural firm Zyscovich, Weiss and Woolrich Contractors and the Community Blood Center.
A woman who answered the phone at Sterling's Fort Lauderdale residence Thursday evening said he was not available.
FBI agents had scheduled a meeting for Friday with Broward Schools Superintendent James Notter, Notter said, but rescheduled the interview for next week. Notter said he has had no indication that the FBI is looking at any board members besides Gallagher.
"They're finishing up their questioning of the witness list that they have," he said.
Notter's laywer, Michael Weinstein, is also representing three School Board members --- Maureen Dinnen, Robin Bartleman and Ben Williams. Weinstein described his clients as "witnesses and not targets of the investigation."