Legal Fees Huge for Zane Seipler’s Case

Zane Seipler

Keith Nygren

After I got a reply to a Freedom of Information request outlining the legal fees which county taxpayers will foot for Sheriff Keith Nygren’s appeal of Circuit Court Judge Maureen McIntyre’s decision that Bob Schlenkert should get his job back, it was so small (under $17,000, according to the response), I thought I should ask about attorney’s fees in the Zane Seipler case.

Here’s the answer:

As of April 7, 2010, McHenry County has been billed $180,410.48 for outside legal counsel services related to legal actions regarding Zane Seipler.


Legal Fees Huge for Zane Seipler’s Case — 18 Comments

  1. Good job, Cal. You are doing a great job exposing the waste by Sheriff Nygren.

    Of course, that $180,410.48 is only to-date. At least, two legal actions are in courts.

    Zane should recover all his back pay, with interest, and legal fees and court costs. I hope his civil rights lawsuit is successful and won before November, but the way the courts work it will probably be two years before that one is concluded.

    In fact, maybe judges should require ALL the lawsuits against the sheriff to be concluded before November 2010.

  2. Nygren keeps running up tabs for us with piles of lawsuits. It is our money used to bolster his sizable ego. McHenry county is NOT HIS KINGDOM. He has done a terrible job as sheriff. Too bad the print media panders to him and selectively controls information regarding him. Thank you for being a reliable source, Mr. Skinner. If you make an error, you are upfront about it. The papers corrections can always be found buried under some ads in the back. That is, if they actually going to correct what they are called on.

  3. A Sheriff, as the “head” of a Sheriff’s department does get sued – by inmates, by civilians and by employees. That is a fact of life that we should not become too over wrought about. However, the apparent profile of Sheriff Nygren is, as earth mother says, is almost imperial. I’m sure there are many other lawsuits handled by the MCSO’s legal counsel that we do not become aware of, that are settled out of court or litigated, but never make any headlines like those of the two deputies. The States Attorney’s Office does not work for the Sheriff – it is a wholly separate entity and it prosecutes criminal cases that have been investigated by a police agency. HOWEVER, to waste what will probably amount to an easy $250,000.00 on these two high profile cases – and loose them goes way beyond irresponsible. H’mmm, suddenly I’m wondering if the State’s attorney should, in fact, be involved. No, actually, this may be a job for the McHenry County Inspector General… Who is that person, you may ask? And what do they do, you may ask? An Inspector General’s Office should be an independent investigative entity that, among other duties, gathers information about malfeasance and waste and fraud. The actual Inspector General should not be anyone tied to, or allied with any government powerbroker. So I ask: who, in a position of power, and other than our blogging watchdogs, investigates Sheriff Nygren’s questionable acts and irresponsible use of taxpayer money???

  4. The $180k is only “billed for outside fees”; the states attorney could have expended a six figure amount of internal costs in staff time. Usually outside legal advice is used only when the department is not capable or it is more economical. The total cost of all the Seipler law suits is approaching a multimillion dollar costs. Is the Tort fund paying any of this? Does the county think this is “free” because it from the Tort fund?

  5. Very good job Cal! Someday after the current litigation is over I will let you know what the legal tab was for the Chief of Police of Woodstock and the City of Woodstock was in regards to their pursuing continuing litigation against a very close relative of mine. This is tax payers money they spend….nothing coming out of their pockets. Its sad the citizens and tax payers in this county and city don’t get upset with this behavior. The only ones that gain by this are the lawyers….so what’s new. Continue grinding out the litigation and the longer it lasts the more the legal firm will probably bill….you think?

  6. Charles, unfortunately, McHenry County does not have an inspector general. It would require the Attorney General to get involved and they do not like to. This is why the sheriff has felt pretty confident about getting away with quite a lot. Even the much maligned Cook County has an Inspector General. They have a way to handle problem sheriffs. The Merit Commission we have, I find questionable. Too many “friends” and contributors on board. Hard to find cases that do not rule in the sheriff’s favor.
    We need some dramatic changes in this county. If everything came to light, Cook County could look good.

  7. Charles,
    Perhaps you know how to pressure the Attorney General? You appear to be very knowledgeable and it is appreciated.

  8. Charles Roberts, please get involved. We need people like you in the political process.

  9. McHenry County may only have a popuklation under 400,000, but it only takes one guy like Nygren to spoil the barrel. As a relative newcomer, and previously having only about 20 years of traveling in and through McHenry county, I find it hard to believe that you say there is no county Inspector General. How do we keep the fox from the hen house, then? Who does watch out for the ethical lapses, the embezzlements, the payoffs the theft of time by county employees? I’m shaking my head, Mr. Roberts, just thinking of what HAS gone on that will never be addressed. Earth Mother may be correct aboiut making legendary Cook County look good. The more of these blogs I read, the more I suspect there is a serious undercurrent of discontent among the general population. I imagine it would be hard to set up an independent Inspector General, especially if the history of various county review boards is tainted. If Mr. Mahon had not lived out here for a bunch of years and schooled his kids out here, I would not give him a snowball’s chance in Florida this November. But, if nobody can dig up meaningful dirt on Mahon in the coming months, I’m inclined to believe he might bring substantial positive change to this county: I admire a guy who chose to live and raise his family so far from where he has worked for umpteen years. At least Mahon is no carpetbagger. And knowledge of BOTH McHenry and Cook counties could prove to be invaluable to us in a ‘clean’ sheriff. Mr. Roberts – call Lisa Madigan, they don’t come any more Democrat than that family, and she might just eat up an opportunity to lift the lid on sheriff Kieth and his ‘posse’ and his various boards. I feel sorry for what I am sure must be the majority of his empoyees.

  10. ridgerunner – to you I say thank you and Amen.
    Your involvement is needed as well. People have to start waking up. Talk to your neighbors and friends.
    Read the blogs. The newsprint has sold their souls.

  11. Earth Mother – Don’t you think people are waking up? I recall reading a posting some time ago on one of the blogs where the writer was venting about Sheriff Nygren and the comment that caught my attention was “I may have to hold my nose and vote for the Democrat” in the Sheriff’s race. I was interested in that comment because my wife works with a conservative, pro-life Irish girl who was exasperated during the recent Presidential election because, Katie said, “Every Irish person I know will vote Democrat no matter who is running”. Since we are all seeing the fruits of those who blindly voted for a Democrat President, and a great (and ever-increasing) number of us of all political stripes continue to have ‘the veil lifted from our eyes’ regarding the on-going and well-entrenched antics of Keith Nygren, I do believe that this November we may, in fact, get “CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN”. Political affiliations are essentially powerbases from which the elected entrench themselves in order to simply maintain power. Power, so to speak, has become Keith Nygren’s ‘entitlement’.
    David Bachmann earlier wrote about Nygren, likening him to the proverbial “don”. He is correct. Billy Goat’s comments regarding the real (as yet not fully known) cost of the litigations undertaken on behalf of Sheriff Nygren and other police departments will probably cause jaws to drop and the raising of torches and pitchforks by us peasants. Billy Goat’s posting is yet another reason we should hope we can find a way to install an objective McHenry County Inspector General. Cal and Gus make up for the shortcomings of the Herald. This blog is probably read by nearly half the residents of the County. People have to be thinking about what they read on these blogs and weigh that info against the print media. I watch both MSNBC AND FOX News. How else can I make informed decisions – especially as we find ourselves with our backs increasingly pushed against the wall of debt and poor decision making. In the end, however, the people get the government they deserve – because they elect them, or because they fail to become informed and vote wisely. We are also seeing exactly how critical and important one single vote can be – look at Congress. Stupak caved – now he has quit. Is Nygren wise enough to retire before something breaks that is so huge it could jeopardize his pension? Probably not. I suggest we, the people, dismantle the existing power base, and rebuild it to serve us, our families, our futures, and this beautiful County.

  12. Thank you, Charles. Very good insight.
    I held my nose and voted for George Ryan. That mistake has cost Illinois dearly.
    I have never, ever voted for Nygren. I will always look at the person and what he brings. I have spoken to Mahon and some of his people. I very much like what I saw and heard. I also think that the Sheriff’s position should not be political. Getting donations from lawyers and judges, I find distasteful. Same for sheriffs giving to judges.
    Highly respected law professor, Martin Malin found in favor of Zane Seipler in the arbitration. Nygren called the decision “repugnant”. I think that speaks volumes.

  13. Here is how to fix this problem of “Don” Nygren. GOP Precinct “Capos” or Captains MUST “Expose” all the issues we know to be “TRUE” and “FACTUAL.”

    I stopped trying…. After all ‘bloggers’ in McHenry County laid it all out for the voters… those in the ‘know’ all read our blogs… and “STILL” the McHenry County GOP, by a landslide margin, voted for the “Don.”

    Not to insult anybody, but voters, “Stupid Is as Stupid does!” You’re getting what you voted for.

    It is exhausting trying to tell people the truth, to put it all on paper, even with PHOTO”S of the evidence, “STILL” the Republican party in McHenry County goes with “Don” Nygren.

    It is my guess, that come November, “Don” Nygren will “STILL” be Sheriff 4 years from now.

    Respectfully I ask, “What Part of all these fact based stories we have worked to provide you with, aren’t you getting, GOP voters?”

    Does anybody know how “Organized Crime” is structured?

    Thank you.

  14. In talking to many people they often talked about Nygren having the most signs.
    I also heard many people say the Zane signs were stolen from their property and others that got to their place of business in the morning and found a Nygren sign in front. Also, the same with home owners. Some took them down and others were afraid to. Many of the Nygren signs were illegally placed on easements. Saw many signs just stuck in school property 100 ft from polling, but still should not be placed on school property. Schools do not endorse. People need to defy “brain washing” and actually check things out. The other problem is the press in McHenry County that just take Nygren’s word for things and do not check.

  15. This have been an interesting and thought provoking exchange. However, David, though it is still early in the campaign for Sheriff, and, having met and conversed with Mahon, but not yet with Gus, I have to disagree about this November’s outcome. I did meet Zane. In my humble opinion, Zane did not impress me as a “fully equiped” candidate. Looking good and having a great name can be of some benefit to some political candidates. Substance, however, matters more to me. I need to hear some cogent thought, some new, innovative, even exciting ideas to get on board and work for any candidate. I have already stated I am not a tea party or any party guy: like earth mother, I vote the individual. Zane was the lesser of two evils, which is why my vote would go his way. Sometimes we vote that way to send a message to the clown we know will win, either because the election is rigged, or because the challenger is simply not up to par. Zane, though he lost, garnered half as many votes as Keith. But the total turnout was absolutely abysmal – a pathetic. You can call Keith’s victory a landslide, but, relatively speaking I believe a tremendous number of folks just stayed home, or didn’t vote for either candidate for Sheriff. Why? Because neither candidate showed any real substance in the primary campaign. Of course, Mahon was unopposed, probably because a Democrat in this county is one thing – but two is another… So there was no choice in the primary and Keith belly-flopped to victory, while Zane just flopped. If Mahon, an experienced law enforcement professional, can mount an informative and knowledgeable campaign, show us he has the stones and the savvy for the job, and maybe throw some excitement into the mix, he could win. I freely admit that right now I lean toward Mahon, though I have not yet met Philpott. It all boils down to giving the voters a real choice. Is Mahon or Philpott best for the job? We’ll see and we will act accordingly. Obviously, for me, at this stage, Nygren is history. I bet I am not alone. There is an increasing number of folks I talk to – including members of the MCSO – who cannot wait to see the “posse” ride off into the sunset, or just north, or southeast… And, earth mother, don’t put too much stock in the lawn signs. The dump is filled with countless signs from politicians who were soundly rejected at the polls.

  16. Cal did an excellent job on his new post today. I am sure he will follow up on it.
    Zane got 8,000 votes and so did Mahon. 3,000 chose not to vote for sheriff at all.
    That says a lot.
    Zane only had 5 months to work on his campaign and not much money. Having no name recognition and a press that did not accurately report, he did pretty well.
    Let’s keep up with reading the blogs and stay informed.

  17. Read the NW Herald’s Sunday (?) article on the Nygren-Mahon back and forth. Disregarding the couple of obvious Nygren Posse members’ comments, the article leans toward Mahon. I still think the discontent with Sheriff Nygren runs much deeper than is readily apparent. It appears many who work for Keith really fear him. That aside, we need to encourage the NW Herald to try to remain objective in its reportage: if the paper wants to endorse one candidate over another, come out and say so and don’t beat around the bush. I was pleasantly surprised by the recent NWH article: it is objective. And it must have struck a responsive chord with many readers, judging by the responses. See earth mother – its good to read ALL the news and views. We shortchange ourselves when we go tunnelvision.

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