In a cryptic Feb. 15 press release that perhaps raised more questions than it answered, Atascadero City Attorney Brian Pierik announced "that the city is cooperating fully in a federal investigation of matters involving the city."
The release went on to say that, while the city was cooperating fully, officials didn't know of any legal violations and "would not release any information about the nature of the investigation or the matters that are being investigated."
Things haven't gotten much clearer in the days since. Mayor Mike Brennler was quoted by The Tribune as saying he asked for the news release in response to FBI inquiries. In that story, he speculated that it could be in relation to allegations of impropriety in a city application for FEMA funds to rebuild the earthquake-damaged Printery building.
Those allegations were raised in a story by uncoveredslo.com, a month-old local news website started by former New Times staffers Karen Velie and Dan Blackburn.
But Brennler wouldn't tread that same ground in an interview with New Times.
He said he simply doesn't know what the investigation is about.
"I would only be speculating, and I don't want to go down that road," the retired police officer said.