Mayor Byron Brown has reacted to an FBI probe of a local political group that -- in Brown's words -- "is near and dear to me."
The mayor told reporters Friday that he knows nothing about Thursday's raid at Grassroots. State and federal agents served search warrants at three local addresses tied to Grassroots and one of its founders, Maurice Garner.
The searches might be tied to the long-festering probe of political operative G. Steven Pigeon, who is facing state bribery charges and a felony election law complaint. Brown's ties to Grassroots date back to his early years in elective office. The group is credited with helping Brown to win election as mayor when he was a state senator.
“Grassroots is near and dear to me,” Brown said. “I’m certainly concerned about what’s going on. But unfortunately I have no information. No one has given me any information and no one in any official capacity has spoken to me about what’s going on.”
Brown stressed that he has not questioned by authorities, nor has he been served with any subpoenas. He said the only information he has received about the recent developments came from media reports.
Does Brown still maintain ties with Grassroots?
“I’m still a member of Grassroots, and I am a close friend of Maurice Garner’s,” he replied.
Brown was also asked about his past ties to Pigeon.
“Certainly Steve Pigeon was a friend. I have not spoken to Steve Pigeon, in a very long time.”
WBFO's Dominic LoVallo contributed to this report.