One might have thought the campaign ended with the Republican primary victory of McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren over Zane Seipler, the deputy Nygren never wants to see in the Sheriff’s Department again.
But Seipler’s blog, McHenry County Sheriff’s Department Exposed, continues to taunt the Sheriff. His most recent post tells of his father Russell Seipler was an NTSB investigator of the devastating Fox River Grove school bus-Metra train crash in the mid-1990’s. (My brother-in-law Dr. Joe Giangrasso was in Good Shepherd’s Emergency Room when the kids were brought in and my wife was chasing reporters out of hospital bathrooms, where at least one was hiding.)
Seipler’s civil suit continues in the deposition stage, as one can glean from reading between the lines on MCSDExposed.blogspot.com.
Seipler has hired an attorney to elaborate on his pro se filing prior to primary election day.
The first allegations read as follows:
“Elected Official Sheriff Nygren has abused his position and continues to violate the law. An emblem of the Sheriff’s department which Sheriff Nygren was supposed to use for the limited purpose of securing his election is now being used publicly by McHenry County. To this end, tax payer dollars are being used to further Sheriff Nygren’s political goals.
“Additionally, Sheriff Nygren failed to report or investigate the illegal conduct by Deputy Michael Cooper, as should be in line with his duties under the General Orders of McHenry County. Given the importance of maintaining the integrity of the State’s Attorney’s office and the significance of these crimes, it is vital for an independent prosecutor to be appointed to investigate these matters.”
“Sheriff Nygren is involved in criminal conduct in the following two ways:
- the illegal usage of the Sheriff’s campaign logo on multiple pieces of government property; and
- the failure to investigate known criminal activity by Deputy Michael J. Cooper as related to the State’s Attorney Louis Bianchi investigation.”
The legal filing points out that the Sheriff’s Department has a five-pointed star “used on County documentation and can be seen on an emblem…worn by deputies.”
There is also a seven-pointed star, it continues, that was created by Nygren for campaign purposes.
“Without sanction, Sheriff’s Nygren created a campaign logo for political reasons and then illegally continued to use a political logo instead of the official logo on County property,” Seipler charges.
The question is whether the person charged with official misconduct manipulated his public office or employment in order to perform a proscribed act. Id.
“Clearly, Sheriff Nygren exploited his position as the Sheriff by using bus personal political logo on state property to market himself and his campaign.”
Six examples are offered as evidence relating to documents, as I read the legal document.
In addition, Seipler offers nine more examples on “buses, cars, envelope openers, motorcycles and even tanks.”
Such use violates these state laws, the filing continues:
- Official Misconduct, 720 ILCS 5/33-3(b) and (c) and
- Prohibited Political activities, 5 ILCS 430/5-15(a) and (b)
“Clearly, Sheriff Nygren exploited his position as the Sheriff by using bus [his?] personal political logo on state property to market himself and his campaign.
“Additionally, he used the services of the state and therefore used taxpayer dollars for the installation of these logo – patently abusing his power as a public official,”
Seipler’s brief charges.
“The question is whether the person charged with official misconduct manipulated his public office or employment in order to perform a proscribed act. Id. Clearly, Sheriff Nygren exploited his position as the Sheriff by using bus personal political logo on state property to market himself and his campaign.”
Next comes the part about Deputy Michael Cooper and his involvement with Amy Dalby is addressed.
“Dalby gave the USB key drive (from McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi’s office) to Michael J. Cooper, Sheriff Keith Nygren’s deputy and security guard. Deputy Cooper kept the USB key drive with the illegally obtained information in a safety deposit box. He never reported this illegally obtained material to the State Police or any other law enforcement authority.”
Nygren’s lack of investigation of this activity, which Seipler’s brief contends violated the law,
“include, but are not limited to:
(a) Illegal actions;
(b) Dereliction of duty
(c ) Malfeasance
(e) Conduct that may publicly discredit the Sheriff’s Office.”
The conclusion offered follows:
“Sheriff Nygren failed to report and/or investigate Deputy Michael Cooper’s conduct. While it is not clear if Nygren failed to report the deputy because of his relationship with Dan Regna, it is clear that Michael Cooper’s conduct was illegal and Nygren had a duty to investigate it.”
Next the appointment of a special prosecutor is requested.
Although there seems to be little love lost between McHenry County two chief law enforcement officers, State’s Attorney Bianchi has been representing Nygren, as the law proscribes
If that request for a special prosecutor is granted by Associate Judge Thomas A. Meyer, both Bianchi and Nygren would be facing special prosecutors.
Nygren ally Dan Regna, Bianchi’s Republican primary opponent two years ago, successfully sought a special investigator to probe Bianchi’s alleged political use of his office. Judge Gordon Graham is the associate judge that ruled in Regna’s favor.
Since then, Independent judicial candidate Sally Wiggins has filed to oppose Graham Republican candidacy in the fall election.
Nygren is being opposed by Democrat Mike Mahon and Green Gus Philpott.
The next court date is August 12th at 10 AM.