Wednesday, October 30, 2013

FEN gets its day in court again, and again, and again

Did Sheriff's Department Legal Affairs Advisor Don Leist argue until he was (fill in the blank) in the face?

Judge Meyer got tired of the arguing after 50 minutes yesterday and hollered, "Uncle", putting off more shenanigans until Thursday, according to FirstElectricNewspaper (FEN) today.

The McHenry County State's Attorney is going to represent the McHenry County Sheriff's Department (MCSD). Then Leist said he'd represent MCSD, too, and that he had "that authorization." The MCSD is attempting to prevent FEN from getting a copy of Leist's 100-page investigation into Andy Zinke's faux pas in revealing information about a confidential DEA investigation to RITA Corporation president Brian Goode.

The DEA believed illegal drugs were on a truck in Texas that was bound for RITA Corporation. MCSD Sgt. John Koziol, a member of the DEA Task Force, informed Zinke, as required by General Orders of the MCSD. Then Zinke spoiled the investigation by telling Goode, who is a member of the MCSD Merit Commission, a good friend of Nygren and a high-dollar past financial supporter of Nygren's political campaigns. Goode donated $5,000 to Zinke's campaign about two months after hearing about the DEA investigation.

FEN filed a FOIA request for Leist's investigation report. MCSD denied it. The Illinois Attorney General's Public Affairs Bureau told MCSD to release it. MCSD refused. So FEN has hauled MCSD into court, which is the only remedy after MCSD thumbed its nose at the Attorney General's office.

At the pace at which FEN's request is moving, the election of November 2014 will be ancient history before FEN gets the report.

If Zinke is clean, MCSD ought to release the report.

Pete Gonigam, publisher of FEN, has said that his FOIA request is not political. I believe him. Commenters who seem to be from the Zinke camp are trying to make a political football out of this, claiming that Lou Bianchi and his office won't represent MCSD fairly. They will.

And it will take them about five minutes to tell Nygren and Zinke and Leist to allow FOIA Officer Jan Weech to release the 100-page report. And then it will take the Circuit Court, the Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court to tell Nygren, Zinke and Leist to listen to the SAO's advice.

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