Investigation into California city centers on consulting firm

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 23, 2015 5:04 PM

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California city that saw its government offices raided by FBI agents and local prosecutors this week has confirmed that the investigation centers on a relationship between officials there and a private consulting company.

Investigators for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office and FBI agents descended on Beaumont City Hall and the offices of Urban Logic Consultants on Wednesday, carting off hundreds of boxes along with more than a dozen computers.

Riverside County prosecutors said search warrants were being served at both locations but declined to comment on the nature of the investigation.

No arrests had been made and no charges filed in the case, said Riverside County District Attorney's Office spokesman John Hall.

A law enforcement source told Reuters that the investigation centered on allegations of public corruption.

In a statement released late on Wednesday, the city of Beaumont, located some 80 miles east of Los Angeles, said warrants were also served at several private residences.

"According to investigators, the warrants were served in conjunction with an investigation into Urban Logic’s business relationship with the city," the statement said. "Urban Logic Consultants, a private company, has provided engineering, planning, and economic development services to the City of Beaumont for 20 years."

The statement said city officials were "fully cooperating" in the investigation.

Urban Logic was purchased in September 2012 by a company owned by Kieran McKiernan.

McKiernan's attorney, William Nassar, said the investigation centered on transactions conducted during the 20-year period prior to his client's purchase of the company and that McKiernan had been assured that he was not the target of the probe.

"They have raided all the city government offices and the city manager's office and his home," Nassar said. He said no current employees of Urban Logic were under investigation.

Beaumont City Manager Alan Kapanicas, who has not been arrested or charged in the case, could not be reached for comment by Reuters on Thursday afternoon.

Urban Logic has provided consulting services to Beaumont for more than two decades and at one time employed all of the city's top managers.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise newspaper reported that the Beaumont City Council had called a special closed-session meeting for Thursday afternoon at which they planned to discuss the investigation and the possible appointment of an interim city attorney after the resignation this month of attorney David Wysocki.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Eric Beech)