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FBI, IRS search home of Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam

The purpose of the search is not yet known.

Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam leaves his home after members of the FBI and Internal Revenue Service searched his home and left with boxes and other items, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018.
Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam leaves his home after members of the FBI and Internal Revenue Service searched his home and left with boxes and other items, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018.Read moreVERNON OGRODNEK (custom credit)

ATLANTIC CITY -- FBI and IRS agents executed a search warrant early Monday at the home of embattled Atlantic City Mayor Frank M. Gilliam Jr.

Doreen Holder, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Newark Office, would not discuss the nature of the search warrant.

A half-dozen federal agents in blue jackets were in and out of the house for several hours Monday morning, unloading boxes and removing computer equipment during the search.

“I can confirm we’re here in an official capacity executing a search warrant,” Jessica Weisman, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Northfield field office, said outside Gilliam’s home in the city’s Venice Beach section.

She said both FBI and IRS agents were involved in the search.

The search comes five days after prosecutors announced that they had decided not to charge Gilliam and Councilman Jeffree Fauntleroy II for their involvement in a Nov. 11 fight outside the Haven nightclub at the Golden Nugget casino. The two elected officials still face a Dec. 11 hearing in Municipal Court in North Wildwood on assault and harassment complaints filed by three employees of the casino.

“We have no information to give. We have not been briefed," said Christina Bevilacqua, Gilliam’s deputy chief of staff. "The mayor’s office is open, and we are going to continue to provide services to the city’s residents.”

She said the mayor was not at City Hall.

Federal agents left the mayor’s house around noon. Shortly after 12:30 p.m., Gilliam emerged from the house and drove away in his silver Mercedes SUV, with a woman in the passenger seat. He did not speak to reporters who shouted questions at him.

In addition to the brawl outside the casino last month, the mayor has been under scrutiny for checks that were deposited into his campaign account but were made out to the Atlantic City Democratic Committee. He has dismissed that as an oversight.

Atlantic City Councilman George Tibbitt said in an earlier interview that he had been questioned by the FBI as a possible victim of campaign finance violations. He ran on the same ticket as the mayor, but the two have had a falling out.

In March, a judge dismissed a citizens' complaint alleging that Gilliam, a Democrat, stole a $10,000 campaign check not meant for him.

In the ruling, Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury said there did not appear to be “even a scintilla of evidence” of wrongdoing by Gilliam or his campaign chair, Rich Winstead, when Gilliam endorsed and deposited a $10,000 check from the Atlantic County Democratic Committee that was made out to the City Democratic Committee. Gilliam said he returned the money to the county Democratic Committee.

Lisa Ryan, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Community Affairs, which has controlled Atlantic City government for two years under a legislative takeover, said in a statement: “We are aware of and monitoring the situation in Atlantic City. We cannot comment on an ongoing investigation. We remain focused on the people of Atlantic City and ensuring that their needs are met.”