FBI took boxes from Cincinnati council member Charlie Winburn's office, police say

Aide says boxes contained newspaper clips, clutter

CINCINNATI – Charlie Winburn says he doesn't know why the FBI has several boxes from his office, and the city council member says he has nothing to hide.

Winburn said he was told Cincinnati police came to City Hall last week and took file boxes that his public affairs director had moved from his third-floor office to the basement. Police say the FBI now has the boxes.

Winburn addressed the issue Thursday inside council chambers.  

"I have the utmost confidence in my staff and I am committed to complete transparency and accountability," Winburn told his colleagues.

Police and the U.S. Attorney's office aren't saying why the boxes were taken, but Winburn, who is contemplating a run for mayor, called it a "red herring."

"This is nothing but a distraction and a waste of taxpayer dollars," he said.

Winburn's public affairs director, Rosalind Fultz, said the boxes contained old newspaper articles and desk clutter she was going to take home to sort out.

"It was really just an attempt to organize some materials," Fultz said.

"This whole situation is politically charged and frankly ridiculous," Winburn's chief of staff, Jacob Hessling,  said.

"Transparency and accountability are so important and I think in time all of this will evaporate," Winburn said.

City spokesperson Rocky Merz issued this statement:

"A situation regarding City property was recently brought to the attention of City officials. The City made an outside agency aware of the circumstances. As a result, additional information was requested and has been provided by the City. The City is not conducting any investigation into this matter."

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