Ratcheting Up the Criticism in the Sheriff’s Race

Keith Nygren

Zane Seipler

McHenry County Sheriff candidate Zane Seipler is levying the same charge against his opponent Keith Nygren that Nygren’s candidate for State’s Attorney Dan Regna made against Lou Bianchi:

Using his office for political gain

Here are the details from the affidavit he filed today in McHenry County Circuit Court:

Now comes the Petitioner, Zane Seipler of 1455 Fox Sedge Trail, Woodstock, a citizen of the State of Illinois and a resident of McHenry County and moves this Honorable Court to appoint a Special Prosecutor in the above captioned matter, and in support thereof states as follows:

That Keith Nygren is Sheriff of McHenry County.

That he has performed political activity within his office and while purporting to be within his official duties as Sheriff, constituting a violation of Official Misconduct in violation of Illinois law, Chapter 720 ILCS 5/33-3(b) and (c), State of Illinois Ethics Code, the McHenry County Ethics Ordinance and other laws of the State of Illinois.

That he directed deputies to perform political activities while being paid by McHenry County and during purported times of “official duties”, constituting a violation of Official Misconduct in violation of Illinois law, ILCS 5/33-3(b) and (c), Illinois law 10 ILCS 5/9-25.1, State of Illinois Ethics Code, the McHenry County Ethics Ordinance and other laws of the State of Illinois.

That the State’s Attorney for McHenry County represents Sheriff Keith Nygren and cannot examine, investigate or otherwise initiate a prosecution of Sheriff Keith Nygren because doing so is and apparent conflict of interest.

( See attachment “1” [above, click to enlarge.])

The State’s Attorney for McHenry County cannot prosecute Sheriff Keith Nygren.

That in support thereof, Petitioner attaches hereto and as a part of this petition, his Sworn Affidavit.

WHEREFORE, the Petitioner respectfully requests that this Honorable Court appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate allegations of criminal wrongdoing by Sheriff Keith Nygren.
Petitioner-Zane R. Seipler

What is the evidenced presented?

Sheriff Keith Nygren poses for campaign photo with Dan Regna, the candidate whom he supported against fellow incumbent Republican McHenry County State's Attorney Lou Bianchi two years ago in the Republican primary election.

“Sheriff Keith Nygren used his taxpayer funded county office as a photo shoot setting to provide political support to Dan Regna, 2008 State’s Attorney Candidate.

Second example of Sheriff Keith Nygren posing with his candidate for McHenry County State's Attorney, Dan Regna, submitted by his primary opponent Zane Seipler as evidence Nygren used his office for political purposes.

Second example presented by Sheriff candidate Zane Seipler that McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren used his office to advance the political career of Dan Regna, whom Nygren endorsed for McHenry County State's Attorney two years ago.

“The photos taken were used for Dan Regna’s political campaign website and campaign newspaper ads.”

Here’s another bit of personal testimony from Seipler about being approached for a campaign contribution at the gun range. A quid pro quo was suggested, he says under oath:

“On October 11, 2007, I was a candidate for promotion and while on duty attending a training session at the McHenry County Sheriff’s Departments firing range (Hartland Township), I was approached by Detective Greg Pyle. Detective Pyle encouraged me to attend a fundraiser for political candidate Dan Regna and to support his campaign. Detective Pyle told me,

It would be good for your career.

Detective Pyle said this to several deputies; Detective Pyle was promoted shortly thereafter.”

Use of the official star used by the department is also presented as evidence that Nygren did something wrong.

The seven pointed McHenry County Sheriff's Police star is apparently the official star for the department. Seipler says that is improper on a campaign piece like this one about Nygren

“Sheriff Keith Nygren is using official departmental letterhead and star logo on his campaign letters, flyers and political paraphernalia. (See attachments 1, 2 3 and 4 for examples of official departmental letterhead and star logo) (See attachments 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 for campaign use of official departmental letterhead and star logo)”

Continuing, the affidavit says,

“Sheriff Keith Nygren’s deputy and security guard, Michael Cooper, was in possession of documents stolen from the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office. (See attachment 12 , Illinois State Police Freedom of Information Request) To the best of my knowledge Sheriff Nygren never conducted an internal investigation to determine if Deputy Cooper did not commit the crimes of Theft and Official Misconduct, nor did Sheriff Nygren ask an independent police agency to conduct an investigation.”

This makes it look as if the probe of Lou Bianchi’s alleged political use of office resources might intersect with any investigation of Nygren’s actions.

Display of Regna campaign literature in the Sheriff’s Office is another complaint Seipler makes:

“During the State’s Attorney’s race of 2008, I witnessed Dan Regna campaign flyers being displayed in the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department patrol room.”

I remember campaigning for State Comptroller in courthouses Downstate in 1982. I was surprised to find candidate literature on the counter of one Republican official’s office somewhere southwest of Springfield. It also reminds me of how Julie Covert took down a sign for a State’s Attorney running for re-election which was posted on the front lawn of the courthouse, which was on the Woodstock Square at the time. A sheriff’s deputy followed her out of town. Someone called her husband Ben and warned him. I can’t remember what I was told he said, but, knowing Julie, it was probably something along the lines of “What do you want me to do about it?” Julie was always and still is a strong-willed woman.

You know those deputies at the McHenry County Courthouse who are charged with ensuring the premises is secure? Take a real of the next paragraph:

This is the “paraphernalia” confiscated from a person named in the affidavit when he entered the courthouse. The Sheriff's deputy who supposedly took the cards is reported to have said the building was “Keith Nygren’s Courthouse.”

“On August 31, 2009, a McHenry County resident, Keith Simpson of 1415 Fox Sedge Trail, Woodstock, was harassed and humiliated at the McHenry County Courthouse by deputies. Mr. Simpson’s personal belongings were seized unjustly. The belongings in question were political business cards with my contact information on them. Mr. Simpson was told by deputies that the cards were ‘paraphernalia’ and that the building was ‘Keith Nygren’s Courthouse.’ Mr. Simpson was attending a court hearing and just happened to have the cards in his possession at the time.”

If accurate, is that over the line or what?

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