Rumors about a federal investigation into Los Angeles city hall have been circulating for months now, and on Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the FBI carried out a search of the Department of Water and Power and City Hall.
A spokesman for the FBI confirmed the search.
"There is a search taking place at the DWP building. The affidavit in support of the search warrant is under seal by the court," said Rukelt Dalberis, an FBI spokesman in Los Angeles. Law enforcement sources said the FBI was also at Los Angeles City Hall.
A champagne-colored van was parked outside the DWP headquarters with a placard saying "FBI" and "Official Business."
An FBI van was parked outside City Hall East, which serves as the headquarters for City Atty. Mike Feuer ‘s office and several government agencies.
A spokesman for the City Attorney's Office refused to confirm whether the FBI agents had entered the City Attorney's office.
The mayor's office released a statement saying Eric Garcetti's office welcomed the investigation.
Alex Comisar, a spokesman for Mayor Eric Garcetti, said in a statement: "We were notified earlier this morning that federal search warrants were being executed today. The mayor believes that any criminal wrongdoing should be investigated and prosecuted. His expectation is that any city employee asked to cooperate will do so fully and immediately."
DWP Commissioner Christina Noonan declined to comment, saying she had been advised to refer all questions to a department spokesman.
LADWP spokesman Joe Romallo did not return multiple calls seeking comment.
Federal investigators have cast a wide net for information about foreign investment in Los Angeles real estate developments. Among those named in the warrant were Councilman Jose Huizar, Curren Price, the former head of he Department of Building and Safety and high-level appointees of Garcetti and Council President Herb Wesson.
Recently, the developers of projects in Councilman Jose Huizar's district have received grand jury subpoenas demanding they turn over communications with the councilman and other current and former staffers.
The DWP has been struggling with its own series of scandals, including the fallout from a billing system that sent out wildly inaccurate bills to customers, prompting a flood of lawsuits.
The warrant also named executives of Chinese firms bankrolling new residential and hotel towers on Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles. It doesn't say whether the FBI has gathered evidence of criminal activity.