Indiana Dept. of Labor serves search warrants at stage hands union


INDIANAPOLIS - There's fresh controversy in the State Fair death investigation.

The attorney for a stagehands union may go to court to block a search warrant aimed at union records.

Eyewitness News was there Thursday as IOSHA investigators served a warrant to collect records of union members killed and injured in the stage collapse.

Worker Nathan Bird was high in the riggings when the structure hit the ground.

But the stage hands union didn't want to hand over those records and called its lawyer.

That attorney says the warrant should go to the worker's employer, not their union. Local 30 says the State Fair Commission was the employer.

The Union says it only wanted a chance to argue its case before the warrant was issued.


INDIANAPOLIS - An Indianapolis Metro Police Department warrant team showed up to back up state labor investigators at the Stage Hands Union Hall Thursday evening.

About a half hour later, police pulled out when they learned a civil warrant was being served, not a criminal warrant.

Indiana Department of Labor investigators were looking for information in the State Fair stage collapse. At first, they wouldn't confirm whether they took any evidence from the building on East Riverside Drive, but later, the department did confirm it served the warrants.

The Stage Hands Union's lawyer Bill Groth said he first found out this afternoon "that the state went into Marion Superior Court and without notifying me as the union's counsel, and was able to obtain a search warrant."

The union's lawyer says he first wanted to convince the judge the warrant should be served on the Indiana State Fair as the employer of stage hand Nathan Byrd, who died in the stage collapse.

"We feel worse about this than anyone. We've been directly affected but we get the feeling that Local 30 is being scapegoated by the state," said Groth.

Eyewitness News obtained the following statement from the Dept. Of Labor:

"The Indiana Department of Labor obtained a civil search warrant today from civil Marion Superior Court 1 for the IATSE Local 30 office to obtain documents pertaining to the state fair accident investigation. IOSHA compliance officers are in the process of executing that warrant on sight. As to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation into the terrible tragedy at the state fair, no further information regarding the investigation will be released until the entire report is presented publicly."