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Agents search, issue subpoenas at Hunt Valve



Published: Tue, September 18, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Some employees are being instructed to appear in federal court early next month.

By NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

SALEM -- Dozens of federal agents converged on Hunt Valve Co. to execute a search warrant and question employees.

Agents from the U.S. Department of Energy's Inspector General Office appeared at the manufacturer, 1913 E. State St., about noon Monday and ordered operations temporarily shut down and some workers temporarily detained.

Hunt Valve officials refused to comment. A worker said many employees were questioned extensively by the agents regarding the plant's operations.

Some employees were served with subpoenas to appear at a hearing at 1 p.m. Oct. 2 in federal court in Cleveland.

Will be questioned: One subpoena indicated employees would be asked to testify regarding testing conducted at the plant by unqualified personnel and to give information regarding "falsification of records and other fraudulent schemes."

Product: The Hunt Valve plant builds valves for ships and submarines. Agents brought with them two rental trucks, though their purpose was unclear.

City police said they were called by agents shortly after they arrived at Hunt Valve.

Agents told police they were executing a search warrant and wanted police to stand by in case there were any problems. None was reported.

An agent at the scene refused to disclose why they were there.

He referred questions to assistant U.S. Atty. David Sierleja of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland.

Sierleja was unavailable to comment. Also unavailable was a U.S. Department of Energy spokesman.

About 140 of Hunt Valve's 275 workers are employed at the 81-year-old company's Salem plant. Hunt Valve also has plants in England and Mexico.

In an interview about a year ago, Larry Kelly, vice president of the company's military division, said the revenues of that division doubled in the previous four years as the company introduced new products and defense spending increased.




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