FBI, Santa Fe police probe attack on Los Alamos employee
The FBI and the Santa Fe Police Department are conducting a joint investigation into an attack Sunday on a Los Alamos National Laboratory who has alleged financial impropriety at the facility, according to law enforcement officials.
Tommy Hook, an auditor at Los Alamos National Laboratory, was assaulted and severely beaten in the parking lot of Cheeks, a Santa Fe strip club, at about 2 a.m. Sunday. Susan Hook, the victim's wife, Bob Rothstein, his attorney, and Chuck Montano, a fellow Los Alamos whistleblower, said Monday that Hook was at the club to meet with another employee who claimed to have information that would support charges of wrongdoing.
Tommy Hook and Montano were scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, according to the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group. Susan Hook and Montano alleged Monday that the assault was related to Tommy Hook's impending testimony.
They did not provide the name of the person that Hook was allegedly in contact with.
"When they were beating him up, they were telling him … 'If you know what is good for you, you will keep your mouth shut,' " said Susan Hook. Tommy Hook suffered a fractured jaw and a herniated disk and is being treated at St. Vincent Regional Medical Center. He was not made available to the media.
The nightclub's doorman ran into the parking lot and broke up the attack, according to a club employee who witnessed the end of the incident. The employee, who asked not to be identified, said Hook was assaulted by a group of men.
Santa Fe Deputy Police Chief Eric Johnson said that officers responded to the scene but were not aware of the alleged Los Alamos connection until FBI agents showed up at the station this morning.
"The officers did locate Mr. Hook, who appeared to be battered," Johnson said. "At this point, we are conducting an investigation with the FBI."
FBI Special Agent Bill Elwell confirmed that federal agents are investigating with Santa Fe police officers. He said they are "still trying to figure out" what happened at the nightclub.
"We are looking into the allegations made by Mr. Hook," Elwell said.
Los Alamos issued a statement that did not address the possibility that the attack on Hook was related to his allegations, but decried the assault.
"The University of California and the laboratory are outraged that a laboratory employee was the victim of a weekend assault in Santa Fe. Director [Robert] Kuckuck was made aware of the attack this morning and expressed his hope that the individual will make a quick recovery," the statement said. "Director Kuckuck, the University of California and the laboratory believe that any form of physical violence toward an individual is unacceptable. The laboratory is in contact with the Santa Fe Police Department and is providing the laboratory's full support and cooperation with the ongoing investigation."
Rothstein said that a person claiming to be an auditor from Los Alamos had contacted Hook a week before and had offered to share information about financial issues at the laboratory. Rothstein said that one meeting had already fallen through, but the second was arranged on Saturday night at the strip club. Hook went to the club and waited for an hour before leaving. He was assaulted as he approached his car.
Susan Hook said that his wallet and the car were not taken.