By Associated Press - Friday, July 3, 2015

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Federal agents seized documents from Allentown’s City Hall and questioned its mayor and a top manager in a grand jury investigation that appears to be related to the city’s contracting process, local officials said Friday.

City solicitor Susan Ellis Wild said FBI agents spent several hours Thursday executing a search warrant and collected records dating as far back as 2005 from several offices.

Wild said search documents didn’t identify the subject. Agents questioned three-term Mayor Ed Pawlowski and Managing Director Francis Dougherty, but Wild said no officials or employees have been subpoenaed to testify or told they are a target of the probe.

City spokesman Mike Moore said in a statement Friday that officials were “cooperating fully” with federal authorities.

“While the city was not informed of the reasons for this investigation, we believe from the nature of the documents requested that the city’s contracting process is under review,” he said.

Moore also said in the statement that the city has “a transparent contracting system” that requires that employees solicit bids for specific items and quantities, and formal and informal quotes are used for purchases under $40,000. Contracts that exceed that amount must be publicly offered, with prospective vendors submitting sealed proposals that are scored by a team of employees based upon criteria in each request for proposal, he said.

“The city believes it has acted appropriately at all times,” Moore said, adding that officials believe the probe “will result in a finding that its process is fair, open and honest.”

The FBI declined comment.

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