Agents with the FBI executed a search warrant on the Seminole Heights home of Tampa City Council member Lynn Hurtak on Monday, seizing computers, a phone and other equipment belonging to her husband.
As of 3 p.m. Monday, seven agents were moving in and out of the property. They arrived around 6 a.m.
The agents would not tell the Tampa Bay Times why they were there or say what law enforcement agency they represented. But an FBI spokesperson confirmed that a court-authorized search was conducted by the agency at Hurtak’s address on Monday.
Hurtak is married to Tim Burke, a nationally recognized former journalist who runs a media business. She deferred questions to him.
Burke said on a phone call that the agents were there because they had a search warrant with his name on it. They spent the day taking his personal devices and the devices that he uses for his business, he said.
He said that they wouldn’t speak to him, and he declined to share a copy of the search warrant with the Times. The FBI said it could not share any additional information.
Burke said that he wasn’t certain why the agents came to the couple’s home and that it was a “terrible feeling” to wake up to several of them with flashlights out and their guns drawn. He also said that agents left their house a mess and damaged some of their property.
The agents left the property around 3:44 p.m. on Monday.
Burke runs Burke Communications, a media company that works for several clients and produces an array of media content. As of Monday, his business website was not working. He also has worked at the online news outlets Gawker and Deadspin and is a member of Jobsite Theater’s board of directors.
He declined to say more until he speaks with legal counsel.
Hurtak is coming off of a hard-fought campaign to return to the Tampa City Council. She was appointed to the council last year following the resignation of John Dingfelder after he was accused of violating state public records laws.
Running for election for the first time, Hurtak bested four challengers in a first round of voting in March, but did not secure a majority needed to avoid a runoff. In the April 25 runoff, she faced off against former state Sen. Janet Cruz, the mother of Mayor Jane Castor’s domestic partner, Ana Cruz.
The campaign was seen as a proxy battle between the mayor and a block of council members who have challenged some of her policies, as Hurtak has. The mayor endorsed Cruz.
Hurtak won with 60% of the vote.