Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler arrested by FBI

<p>Mayor Dennis Tyler is a Muncie native. He graduated from Muncie Central High School and started working at the Muncie Fire Department. <strong>Amon Rizvi, DN File</strong></p>

Mayor Dennis Tyler is a Muncie native. He graduated from Muncie Central High School and started working at the Muncie Fire Department. Amon Rizvi, DN File

Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler was arrested by the FBI, according to a statement from FBI Indianapolis.

An arrest warrant was executed at Tyler's home Monday morning after which he was placed in custody, said Chris Bavender, public affairs specialist at FBI Indianapolis, in the statement.

According to the Tyler’s indictment papers that were released later that day, he has been charged with one count of theft of government funds.

It states he accepted $5,000 from Tracy Barton, superintendent of sewer maintenance and engineering for the Muncie Sanitary District, in exchange for influencing the awarding of contracts.

In the past few years, Muncie government officials have been arrested following FBI and IRS investigations.

Barton was arrested in September 2018, facing charges for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, falsification of documents in a federal investigation and witness tampering, according to previous Daily News reports.

The grand jury charged Barton with abusing his position of authority and influence by fraudulently steering contracts to preferred contractors and soliciting and accepting kickbacks in the form of cash, cash equivalents or contributions, to Barton and other Muncie employees, the previous reports state.  

U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler will hold a press conference at 4 p.m. Monday at his office in Indianapolis where he will announce charges related to public corruption, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Indiana.

Minkler will be joined by the FBI at the press conference, it states.

Muncie's Mayor-elect Dan Ridenour, in his official statement about the arrest, said he was pleased Muncie citizens "overwhelmingly supported" new leadership in the recently-concluded city elections.

On Nov. 5, Ridenour won over 60 percent of the vote in the mayoral elections and Republican candidates gained a 5-4 majority on the City Council.

In the statement, he said he looks forward to working on "transition issues" with current city employees to prepare for when he takes office in January 2020.

"For city of Muncie employees who are burdened by the string of news stories about the current administration, please know that I share a commitment with you to operate the city of Muncie in a way that promotes the welfare of all," Ridenour said.

Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns does not wish to comment on the mayor's arrest, said Marc Ransford, senior media strategist at Ball State.

This story will be updated.


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