Federal, state officials investigating Manchester alderman
MANCHESTER — Federal and state investigators searched the home and two businesses of Ward 8 Alderman Thomas Katsiantonis along with another city business Tuesday following a months-long criminal financial investigation, authorities said.
Investigators searched the alderman’s home and his businesses, Grand Slam Pizza 2, 331 South Mammoth Road, and Tommy K’s Sport Bar & Restaurant, 2323 Brown Ave.
The fourth location searched was Zoey’s, 2160 Candia Road. Steve Asprogiannis is the president and registered agent of the restaurant, according to the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office.
Neither could not be reached Tuesday for comment. Katsiantonis, a Democrat, has been an alderman in Ward 8 since 2011 and is a six-term state representative. He previously served on the Manchester Board of School Committee.
Katsiantonis said nothing when he left his 45 Glen Bloom Drive home, off of South Mammoth Road, Tuesday afternoon, driving away in his Mercedes. Minutes earlier, two men, one wearing a navy blue jacket with U.S. Department of Justice written in yellow lettering on the back, got out of a car with Massachusetts plates and entered the home.
No one has been arrested.
The search warrants are sealed and not available for public view, according to Associate New Hampshire Attorney General Jane Young.
“At this point, this is one of the earlier steps in the investigation process so I can’t predict what the outcome will be,” Young said. “We will analyze the information gathered to determine if any individual or individuals committed any type of criminal activity.”
Young said a decision won’t be made immediately on whether to file charges against anyone and said it would most likely be months before a decision is made.
She would not say what sparked the investigation or whether Katsiantonis was a target.
The Attorney General’s Office, with assistance from unnamed federal agencies and Manchester police, executed the search warrants.
“The warrants were executed mid-morning and the search warrants were completed by late afternoon,” Young said.
Young said she could not say what investigators were looking for or what they seized.
N.H. Republican State Committee Chairman Jeanie Forrester, R-Manchester, said the criminal investigation was troubling and called on the House minority leader to take action against Katsiantonis.
“The New Hampshire House is taking serious action this week on matters that impact the economic well-being of every Granite Stater. House Minority Leader Steve Shurtleff needs to take responsibility here and remove Katsiantonis from any decision making position to ensure the integrity of any and all House votes this week,” Forrester said in a statement.
A man at Grand Slam, not Katsiantonis, opened a restaurant door as a reporter was about to enter and asked her to leave “his place.”
A plain clothes officer wearing a badge around her neck came out of the restaurant, went to an unmarked car parked in the lot and then went back inside the restaurant. A Manchester police car, parked horizontally outside, blocked several cars parked in the lot.
Police, including a marked Manchester police SUV, were at Tommy K’s on Tuesday afternoon.
A large sign outside read: “Come celebrate Tommy K’s 44th B-day Friday Feb. 17.”
School board member Erika Connors said Katsiantonis gave no indication anything was wrong or troubling him recently.
While Katsiantonis owns a Grand Slam Pizza on Mammoth Road, he sold a similarly named pizza restaurant on South Main Street about 10 years ago, said George Kostakis, who purchased it from Katsiantonis.
He stressed that Katsiantonis remains a friend.
“I know Tommy, I think he’s a great guy,” said Ward 7 school board member Ross Terrio. “I’m shocked by this.”
Staff writers Mark Hayward and Paul Feely also contributed to this report.