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SALEM Hunt Valve reopens for work



Published: Wed, September 19, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A government spokesman said a probe of the company is unrelated to the terrorist attacks.

By NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

SALEM -- Workers are returning to Hunt Valve Co. after a temporary shutdown prompted earlier this week when federal agents searched the plant and questioned some employees.

Company officials have not made themselves available to comment directly.

But in a statement released Tuesday, David Huberfield, president and CEO, said the company is cooperating fully with the government and that Hunt Valve will "continue to operate ... during the investigation."

Warrant: Huberfield said, without elaborating, that a federal warrant has been served on the company seeking records related to its work as a defense contractor.

Hunt Valve, which employs about 140 at its East State Street plant, manufactures valves for submarines and ships.

Some workers were issued subpoenas to appear in federal court in Cleveland in early October to testify about plant activities.

One subpoena indicated that workers could provide information regarding unqualified personnel conducting certain testing and "falsification of records and other fraudulent schemes."

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Sierleja of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland refused to comment Tuesday on why federal agents suddenly descended on Hunt Valve near noon Monday.

The action is unrelated to the massive federal investigation into the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Sierleja said.

Probe: Agents from the Navy Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Department of Energy's Inspector General Office and the U.S. Department of Defense's Criminal Investigative Service were involved in the activity this week at Hunt Valve, Sierleja said.

In his statement, Huberfield said Hunt Valve's military division has been serving the Navy's requirements for more than 30 years.

"We value our excellent relationship with the government," he said.

leigh@vindy.com




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