FBI Raids Electricians Union Boss Johnny Doc’s House, Local 98 Hall

Authorities raided the IBEW Local 98 union hall and John Dougherty’s South Philly home this morning. The FBI was also in Councilman Bobby Henon's office.
FBI logo / John Dougherty split photo

Dougherty photo by Jeff Fusco

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.

Federal and state authorities conducted an early-morning raid of several properties connected to IBEW Local 98 business manager John Dougherty, a longtime power broker in Philadelphia.

An FBI official said it was a part of an “ongoing investigation.” FBI agents raided the Local 98 union hall at 17th and Spring Garden streets, while state and federal authorities searched Dougherty’s South Philly home.

“Nothing has changed in my house except maybe for the tomato plants in the backyard,” Dougherty told reporters outside his house. He was previously under investigation about a decade ago. Philly.com reported that “a person familiar with the investigation said it focused on the union’s finances and its involvement in the political campaigns of Mayor [Jim] Kenney and state Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty, who is Dougherty’s brother.”

Lauren Hitt, a spokeswoman for Kenney, said the administration has “no reason to believe the investigation is in any way related to Mayor Kenney.

“No member of the administration has been questioned by the FBI,” she said, “and no requests have been made for documents.”

Longtime Dougherty spokesman Frank Keel also released a statement on today’s FBI raids:

“The FBI and other agencies‎ this morning visited multiple sites in Philadelphia associated with IBEW Local 98 and the [union’s] Business Manager, John Dougherty, including John’s home. IBEW Local 98 officials and John Dougherty are cooperating with investigating officials. Local 98 undergoes an extensive annual audit and is subject to many layers of financial controls and oversights, which makes us question media reports of allegations of financial impropriety as the basis of the investigation. Similarly, the search of John’s home is puzzling, since nothing in it or about it has changed since the last time the FBI searched it a decade ago. There will be no further comment on this situation at this time, pending further developments.”

In February, the Inquirer reported federal and state officials were investigating an alleged altercation Dougherty had with contractor Joshua Keesee. Keel said at the time that Keesee threatened Dougherty’s family members, then Keesee “rushed John and threw a punch” at his head. Keesee said Dougherty swung first and broke his nose.

In addition to the union hall and his house, Doc’s Union Pub in South Philadelphia was also raided today. FBI agents were in the office of City Councilman Bobby Henon, too, the Inquirer reports. And, yes, the IBEW Local 98 Ratmobile is now behind crime scene tape at the union hall.

Dougherty helped Kenney get elected last year, with candidate Sen. Anthony Williams complaining about Dougherty’s “dark money” in the campaign not getting as much scrutiny as Williams’ backers were. Kenney is also an ally of Councilman Henon, who he helped get installed as majority leader of City Council.

Additional reporting by Holly Otterbein.

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