The FBI shut down Bridgewater Town Hall Wednesday afternoon and agents were seen removing boxes from the building.
Agents declined comment to a reporter on the scene. However, a marshal leaving Town Hall said he was working with the FBI and a search warrant was being executed.
The FBI confirmed the activity.
"We're there and that's about all I can say," said FBI spokesman Dan Curtin in New Haven.
He turned aside all questions about what had prompted the investigation and reports agents had seized town financial records as part of the search.
First Selectman William Stuart, reached on his cell phone, said he was not in Town Hall Wednesday, that he was out haying a field. He said he had heard about the shutdown through a cellphone call.
"The FBI has shown up, closed down Town Hall and started questioning everybody," Mr. Stuart said.
At 5 p.m., a woman reached around the front door of Town Hall from inside and affixed a handwritten sign on pink paper reading "All meetings are cancelled tonight."
Town Hall is usually closed on Thursdays.
"I'm not speaking for the RTC," Mr. Macgeorge said, "but this is just the tip of the iceberg..
He said he began sitting in on Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance meetings in November.
Board of Finance chairwoman Nancy Hawley said Wednesday she had been informed 10 to 15 FBI agents arrived at Town Hall about 12:15 p.m. and removed a number of records, specifically files from the treasurer's office and minutes of both Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance meetings.
"This is not an everyday occurrence,'' Ms. Hawley said.
She was not present at town hall when the FBI was removing files, but Ms. Hawley said she was made aware by the assistant town clerk that one of the files taken was on the Burnham Fund, a charitable fund created in the 1920s to help the less fortunate in town with such things as fuel and other necessities.
During many of his 30 years as first selectman, Mr. Stuart had sole management of the fund. In recent years there was controversy about how he managed that account, including an investigation in 2009 by the state Attorney General's Office into the fund.
Since 2008, the Board of Finance also has had oversight of the Burnham Fund.
"This is a small town, and yet we have had more than our fair share of lawsuits against town officials,'' Ms. Hawley said.
Hanging in the balance currently is a dispute between the elected town treasurer, Joe Caruso, and Mr. Stuart over the town's financial matters.
The Board of Finance approved a salary for Mr. Caruso, but the Board of Selectmen said that was not the salary he was to be paid. Mr. Caruso has filed a lawsuit to garner the Board of Fiance-endorsed salary.
Bridgewater, a town with just under 2,000 residents, has seen a series of political spats and dust-ups in recent months.
Earlier this year, Ms. Hawley and Board of Finance vice chairman Michael Reed challenged Mr. Stuart and the Board of Selectmen.
A letter, dated June 12, was sent to all residents in the town by Ms. Hawley and Mr. Reed -- paid for with private funds.
They charged the Board of Selectmen with "attempts to circumvent the election results" of November 2011 in their bid to reduce the salary of and undermine "financial oversight" by Mr. Caruso.
The finance duo claimed the May 25 town meeting had been stacked with the selectmen's supporters when a motion was passed by a vote of 59 to 33 to request the finance board reduce the treasurer's salary from $11,800 to $5,000.
Mr. Stuart had filed a complaint against Mr. Garlasco, who was charged with second-degree harassment and second-degree breach of peace came after sending what Mr. Stuart called a suspicious package to Bridgewater Town Hall in August.
Mr. Stuart said the package's contents, a toy bulldozer and rake, had been intended to insult and harass him.
The timing of the package coincided with a lawsuit filed by attorney and resident George Allingham alleging wetlands violations by Mr. Stuart.
When called later in the day Wednesday about the FBI activities at the town hall, Mr. Stuart said, "George Allingham has been talking about some kind of fraud. He's been talking about it for years. They want to destroy my reputation. That's what they want to do."