Sheriff Nygren Out of Case Seeking Special Prosecutor to Investigate Allegations of “Felony Theft, Official Misconduct and Misappropriation of Funds”

Zane Seipler

Zane Seipler won a victory over former employer Sheriff Keith Nygren Thursday.

Nygren is the man who fired Seipler and against whom Seipler ran unsuccessfully in the Republican primary election almost two years ago, plus filed a wrongful termination action in Federal Court and an appeal to an arbitrator under his union’s contract on which he has prevailed on three levels so far.

The judge in the case, Thomas Meyer, is the same judge who ruled that Nygren should follow an arbitrator’s order and re-hire Seipler.  That ruling has been upheld by the Appellate Court, but Nygren has appealed the case to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Judge Meyer reversed his ruling to allow Nygren’s participation in Seipler’s effort to get a Special Prosecutor to investigate the possibility of criminal wrong-doing on the part of the Sheriff.  Previously, he has indicated that he didn’t know if he had made the correct decision.

Meyer had allowed Nygren to participate in the case in which Seipler was seeking the naming of a Special Prosecutor to probe, to put it in Seipler attorney Blake Horwitz’ words after the Thursday hearing,

  • felony theft
  • official misconduct
  • misappropriation of funds

Horwitz alleged the crime Nygren committed was “stealing public money to promote [his] private interest [that is, Nygren’s campaign].”

“That is not a dispute about points on a star anymore than mail fraud is about “putting a stamp on a letter.”

There were seven attorneys in Judge Meyer’s courtroom with an interest in the case.

Four took part in the proceedings:

  • Nygren’s personal attorney Mark Gummerson
  • Gummerson associate Rebecca Lee
  • Special Assistant State’s Attorney William Caldwell
  • Seipler attorney Blake Horwitz

In addition, two attorneys were watching the proceedings:

  • Assistant State’s Attorney Donna Kelly, the person who advised State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi in his deposition and
  • Don Leist, now working for Nygren in the capacity of Equal Opportunity Employment Officer with “other duties as may be specifically assigned to the EEO by the Sheriff, included but not limited to performing any mandated or permitted function of action allowed to be performed by the EEO or by the Sheriff,” according to the job solicitation.

In addition, attorney Robert Hanlon, who represented Seipler at the last hearing, was in attendance.

Keith Nygren

Also in the room were Nygren, sitting next to his new in-house attorney and Seipler, who sat behind Nygren.  The Sheriff left the room after the Judge ruled against his continued participation in the case.

Much of the day’s arguments were about difficult to understand civil practice questions.  The technicalities were pretty impossible to follow without the statutory citations.

Resolving them leads to “the last stage of the case,” Horwitz explained.  “We’ve gotten through all the procedural hurdles,” characterizing the almost two-year case as “not ordinary litigation.”

Prior to rendering his decision, Meyer said, “I have [had] serious concern about the direction in which case is going, but that has been resolved.”

The Judge then said, “I have no alternative but to strike Sheriff Nygren’s [ability to intervene].”

Efforts by Caldwell to argue that the merits (or lack thereof) of any criminal case and that the issue should be settled in the political arena were short-circuited by the Court, who was determined to stick to whether the State’s Attorney’s position matched those which would allow the appointment of a Special Prosecutor.

“I’m not going to investigate the Sheriff,” Meyer said, indicating that would be the job of a Special Prosecutor, if one were appointed.

Caldwell made his point, indicating he wanted to preserve the issue for appeal purposes.

Blake Horwitz

Horwitz summarized Bianchi’s position that he would not investigate Nygren because, if he did, those suing the Sheriff or his Deputies could claim the State’s Attorney had a conflict, forcing Bianchi to hire outside attorneys a practice he promised to virtually eliminate when he ran for his office seven years ago.

Horwitz also pointed out that by appointing the Appellate Prosecutor as the Special Prosecutor it would cost county taxpayers no more than they are already paying.

After considering the arguments in chambers, Judge Meyer denied another motion to dismiss Seipler’s case observing,

“[We’re] probably at a point where we can move to a resolution of this matter.”

“A decision on the merits?” Caldwell asked.

That was what the Judge had decided.

Attorneys will return in January and February.

“We don’t want a motion for sanctions hanging over our heads,” Gummerson interjected, saying, “We’re ready to argue [now].”

Lee referred to a second motion for sanctions which she said was “clearly on is face designed to harass Mr. Gummerson.”

The Judge gave time to everyone to reply to the others’ motions, as well as to further brief the case, if they wished.

Such arguments should be limited to “the statutes,” Judge Meyer said.

The Judge ordered that parties to the Bianchi deposition be given a copy of the audio recording.


Comments

Sheriff Nygren Out of Case Seeking Special Prosecutor to Investigate Allegations of “Felony Theft, Official Misconduct and Misappropriation of Funds” — 11 Comments

  1. We pay annually for an appellate prosecutor whether we use one or not. Might as well use it. We are not talking about petty offenses. We are talking about a lot of taxpayer money spent on someone’s election campaign

  2. get educated, what? So, it’s a good use of the appellate prosecutor? For what, because Nygren used a 7 point star? really?

    I fail to see the issue. We have this little Amendment which guarantees Free Speech. Going after Nygren based upon his use of an image flies in the face of the Bill of Rights.

    What’s next, go after each and every candidate who poses with the US Flag? Because, following this inane line of “logic”, that’s the next step. We can’t have the stars and stripes usurped to support a politician, can we?

    This is, just as Bianchi’s witch trial, just a colossal waste of time, effort, energy and yes, money. Appellate prosecutor or no, this is still taking court time, attorney’s time, elected official’s time, etc. So get educated, your argument is bunk.

    I guess you think it’s ok to pay $500 of taxpayer money on a hammer since, we’ve got to pay taxes and the government needs a hammer anyway?

  3. If you have nothing to hide you would welcome an investigation and answer any questions.

    If you are Nygren and you have a lot to hide then you fight for years to try and stop the investigation.

    “Really”, you’re a moron if you think this is about 5 or 7 points on a star.

    Nygren is trying to protect his kingdom and his cronies.

    There is an ever growing hole in the Nygren ship and it’s sinking, so grab a vest “Really” (like another job) before it’s too late.

  4. Gene, I’m not a sheriff’s deputy, just someone who’s tired of watching my tax money fly out the window over some witch hunt. Listen, if the ship is sinking, identify the iceberg for me…As I read the various articles on this case, it is about the number of points on a star.

    But please, if I’m wrong and this is about something more substantial, take your time and correct me. I, unlike you, won’t even disparage you, I welcome your insight so please enlighten me on the kingdom hood and cronyism of Keith Nygren…

  5. Really, there was an “if” in that sentence. I don’t have time to write the whole story for you. I think Cal has posted many stories and documents about the department over the last few years. The latest example would be the hiring of Leist (or is it Least) as the new EEO person after he tried to defend Nygren from the special prosecutor against Bianchi’s wishes. At least he and Fat Bastard are out of the SA’s office now. Generally where there is smoke ( and there is a LOT of smoke), there is fire. If he has nothing to hide then let the FREE appellate prosecutor take a look. You don’t hide when you are innocent.

  6. Sooo all you have is that you really can’t recap-but point out that hiring Leist is what? some sort of illegal maneuver too? The position was posted and someone was hired. Now, I don’t know the dynamics behind Leist’s move from the SAO to the EEO position and I’m willing to bet you don’t either-all you have if some supposition and assumption that some back door wheeling and dealing is going on. Suppose and assume all you want-if Leist was a political move and he is unqualified then Nygren will have to deal with it. I really don’t care who Leist is nor do I care how he got to where he is…

    What I do care about is wasting money and this witch hunt is just that. Smoke means nothing, especially when it’s being fanned by those who have a person and political axe to grind. The points on a star and a political hiring don’t justify the blood you want…

    Simple solution-don’t vote for Nygren! I know it’s a foreign concept, but this is America and we do vote for politicians. Vote someone else in. The only thing I see is a poor choice or two, there is no reports of real crime. This case, with the “theft, misappropriation and misconduct” are all centered upon Nygren’s use of a star, period. The root issue is meaningless-these are trumped up criminal charges based upon a first amendment-free speech exercise issue.

    You’ve shown me nothing…

  7. Again, the App. Pros. is already paid for, as in free. If there are no crimes there will be no indictment, no charges, no trial, no expenses, no spun NWH articles. So lets take a look at Nygren, Jose Rivera and his wife, and the rest of the sheriff’s dept. . WHY, WHY, WHY is he fighting so hard to stop any investigation. If someone wanted to investigate me I’d say go ahead, knock yourself out. He has already covered up the racial profiling, the Pavlin incident, fired dep. Milliman who spoke about his crimes. I don’t think a signed confession and video tapes would convince you.

    You’ve shown me you are one of the blind morons who voted for him, you probably voted for Obama too.

  8. Gene, again-you can’t seem to log an opinion without resorting to petty name calling. Your argument is flawed-nothing the government does is “free”.

    I question the methodology used to coin the term “racial profiling” and find the dichotomy absurd. Nygren tacitly permits, or full out endorses racial profiling, all the while buddying up to Rivera for some ponzi illegal immigrant scheme…that makes zero sense.

    As for Pavlin, Nygren wasn’t there and Milliman-there’s some questions there and not all are against Nygren. Milliman made some wild and unsubstantiated acusations, unless you count InZane and his “I’ll make noise about profiling after I get fired for falsely charging passengers” nonsense.

    I do agree that the ultimate accountability rests with Nygren. That’s why his name is typically attached to any lawsuit filed against his deputies and/or the department. Vicarious liability is a little bit ridiculous-but I can see the argument.

    Wow, Obama, really? Out of you and me, you argue like a liberal-strictly using emotion over rationality. Merry Christmas!
    Nope, I don’t need a confession on video, just some indication of something more than your smoke and mirrors before the County winds up spending another million dollars of our tax money chasing your ghosts.

  9. The app. prose. is already paid for, I believe it was like 30k at the start of the year. The county spends that much in a month fighting Zane and Milliman. If they find they are chasing ghosts the investigation won’t go too far. If they find what I think they will, it could be a lengthy process. Then of course there is the cost of the prison cells. I’d vote for a tax increase to see that.

    Will see in Milliman’s federal case and his job arbitration if his claims are unsubstantiated.

    Zane complained about the profiling before any trumped up firing.

    Zane has won in arbitration, circuit court, and appellate court.

    But I’m sure you know the law better than the four judges.

    Why didn’t Nygren fire the deputies that falsified hundreds of citations (not warnings). Maybe because those orders came from the top.

    They also don’t want to admit Zane was right.

    As for the pavlin incident, you are right Nygren was probably in Florida that year. He claims his boys did nothing wrong, so far the courts don’t agree and the county has already offered 250k to make them go away, but they turned it down.

    Why does the dept. have an exchange program with Mexico.

    Do you really think our cops are going to learn from that backwards ass country about law enforcement. The only thing Nygren would learn is better ways of corruption.

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