Six citizens represented by McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi’s Defense Counsel Terry Ekl have asked to be interveners in Judge Gordon Graham’s secret supervision of Special Prosecutors Henry Tonigan and Thomas McQueen.
The six, all supporters of Bianchi, are pointing out in their court filing that state statute requires that special prosecutors be competent.
And that Tonigan and McQueen were incompetent.
Read what Rockford Judge Joseph McGraw said while rendering his oral decision.
The six complaining citizens are
- Mary Alger of Crystal Lake
- Bob Borchert of Crystal Lake
- Thomas Crane of Woodstock
- Ria and John Reckamp of Crystal Lake
- Anthony Scimeca of Wonder Lake
Borchert, the Reckamps and Scimeca were at the press conference in front of the Courthouse’s main entrance.
Borchert, a former FBI Agent and current Republican Precinct Committeeman in Crystal Lake sat through the trial. He noted that there was never a directed verdict in any of his cases.
Why was he such a strong supporter of Bianchi?
“Lou restored my faith in attorneys” in a case Bianchi handled for Borchert’s wife.
Borchert said the case against Bianchi was “a witch hunt” initiated when they “found out they couldn’t control him.”
The “they” was not identified.
“I thought this was a fishing expedition,” John Reckamp said, adding that he objected to the expense.
Scimeca, an elected member of the Greenwood-Alden-Hebron Fire Protection District, stated it was the “patriotic” thing to do.
He said he wanted to make sure “the system stays accountable to itself and the citizens (so) that none of us is held to a different a different standard.”
Ekl was unwilling to share the multi-page document he was filing with the Circuit Court because the case has been sealed by Judge Graham, but he did urge news media to join him in seeking to unseal the case.
Ekl was in full attack mode.
“There never was any basis for bringing the case.”
Ekl charged the prosecutors with starting with a conclusion–that Bianchi would be indicted–and then looking for a reason.
“They did everything they could to find a reason to indict Lou Bianchi, (they were) acting in bad faith.”
Asked about criticism of the motions being filed–with Bianchi’s knowledge–Ekl said, “Lou’s enemies can make any accusations they wish.”
One of those is Sheriff Keith Nygren, the other Republican Party law enforcement officer in the courthouse.
Nygren’s office refused permission for cameras to be brought into the second floor of the courthouse, where the press conference was first scheduled.
Not official business may have been the excuse.
But that possibility brought to mind how anyone is allowed to hold a press conference in the press room at the State Capitol.
Eck expressed no resentment, however, to having to make his presentation outside in the wind.
Ekl told of the approximately one million pieces of paper produced during the discover phase of the trial.
“Twenty-one of twenty-two counts were found defectively pled.
“In all twenty-two (Judge Joesph McGraw) found lack of evidence.
“That means the case should have never been brought,” Ekl said.
“(The directed verdict was) an absolute slap at the competency of the prosecutors.”
Referring to the Quest forensic computer expert as”an alleged computer expert,” Ekl charged he added nothing to the trial, but charge for 345 hours at $250 per hour.
Here are the bills that have been made public so far. They are from the investigators that Tonigan hired, a firm called Quest International. $225,000 with bills for several months not yet submitted.
Elk said there were overcharges and double billing.
- Homework for McHenry County Board
- More Homework for the McHenry County Board
- $20,800 More Quest Bills for McHenry County Board Members To Study
- Final Homework Assignment for McHenry County Board
When I asked Special Prosecutor Tonigan how much he was billing an hour, I got a “No comment.”
When I asked how much Tonigan should be paid, he referenced the State’s Attorney’s salary, which works out to $80 per hour.
Ekl though some addition amount per hour would be appropriate to cover overhead.
In 1999, Ekl got paid $125 an hour in the DuPage Seven case.
In seeking the Special Prosecutors’ dismissal, Ekl suggested that an employee of another State’s Attorney’s Office could be brought it at no expense to taxpayers.
Two other tidbits came up:
- One had to do with whether unnamed lawyers had assisted in the case. If they were paid, unsealing the bills would indicate that, Ekl thought. “I can almost guarantee you that there are lawyers working on this case that are not Special Prosecutors.”
- The second came when I asked if this could lead to an ARDC (Attorney’s Registration and Disciplinary Commission) complaint. “It could. It’s possible.”
Asked Bianchi’s reaction to the filing:
“He’s as concerned as anyone else at the county’s being ripped off.”