Congressman says FBI questioned him about real estate firm

AP News
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Posted: Aug 11, 2015 6:51 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger said Tuesday that the FBI asked questions several months ago about a real estate company he founded.

Federal agents spoke to employees and requested information from Pittenger Land Investments in April, Pittenger told The Associated Press.

The company hasn't heard from federal agents since, and the congressman said he does not know what they were investigating.

"I have always acted with integrity. I'm not the least bit concerned about whatever they are requesting," Pittenger said.

Pittenger said he cuts ties with the company right after he was elected to the U.S. House in 2012. He said his understanding is the company has cooperated with the FBI.

"They requested information. The company was very glad to give them anything they wanted," Pittenger said.

The FBI didn't return a phone call asking about its investigation.

Pittenger won a bitter Republican primary race over 10 other candidates in 2012 for an open seat in North Carolina's 9th District, which includes several Charlotte suburbs. U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick endorsed Pittenger's runoff opponent.

Several prominent Republicans in the area questioned whether Pittenger made decisions to help the people or help his investors during his three terms as a state senator. Pittenger also had an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor in 2008.

Pittenger's wife, Suzanne, now runs the investment firm. Pittenger Land Investments' website says it has acquired more than $250 million in undeveloped land in Charlotte; Austin, Texas; middle Tennessee and along the South Carolina coast by shrewdly determining where the population was going to grow. A company brochure said it has given annual average returns of 18 percent to its investors.

The investigation was first reported by WCNC-TV in Charlotte.