Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How can MCSD "lose" letter?

How can the McHenry County Sheriff's Department (MCSD) "lose" an important letter?

On December 3, 2010, Undersheriff Andy Zinke wrote to the Chicago office of the FBI. Apparently, he wanted to know about the FBI's investigation of Sheriff Keith Nygren.

On January 4, 2011, the FBI wrote back to Zinke. "We have had the opportunity to carefully review your December 3, 2010, letter..."

So, unless the FBI lied, there was a letter from Zinke dated December 3, 2010. Right?

But now the MCSD has no record of it. Imagine that! Three responses to my FOIA request all have the same answer. No such letter can be found.

Even the Illinois Attorney General's Public Access Counselor was given that answer.

Did Zinke type it himself? Did a secretary type it? Did another deputy type it? Was it typed on his office computer? On his laptop? On his home computer?

Why wouldn't there be a copy of it?

Legally, there should be a copy. There is this fussy thing called the Local Records Act. You can't just delete a copy of a letter that you wouldn't want people to find or see.

I'm not holding my breath while I wait for the FBI to respond to my FOIA request. I submitted it on June 14, 2012. When I hadn't heard from the Chicago office of the FBI by July 11, I emailed the Chicago FBI office. Funny thing happened then - they forwarded my FOIA request to Washington, and Washington sent me a letter dated July 11 that they would process my request. What if I hadn't followed up?

Today the Washington FBI office told me it might take 118 days to respond to "small" requests (for less than 250 pages). Since the response to me will be one (1) page, I guess I still have to wait 118 days.

Yesterday's Chicago Tribune carries the announcement of the retirement of Special Agent in Charge (SAIC) Robert Grant, whose name was on the January 4, 2011, letter to Zinke. The letter was signed for him by Angela Byers, Assistant SAIC. Too bad he didn't just response to my request back in June, before he decided to move on to Disney.


Bounty Hunter said...

Is it true that FBI Agent Angela Byers, the woman who authored that strange looking letter, and Under Sheriff Andrew Zinke's wife, are 'buddies?'

As in 'personal friends?'

Just askin?

Mike said...

What is the statutory turn around time for federal requests? I believe the time limit for Illinois requests is 7 days. It is hard to believe the Feds would get nearly 3 months.