Not only was McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi’s legal team on the attack in Rockford, but papers were filed in Chicago in his Federal suit now against
- Thomas K. McQueen
- Daniel Jerger
- Robert Scigalski
- James Reilly
- Patrick Hanretty
- Richard Stilling
- Quest Consultants International, Ltd
- Unknown Co-Conspirators
Here’s a summary of the case:
“This action is brought pursuant to the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the
United States Constitution and under Illinois State Law.
“Plaintiff Louis A. Bianchi, the State’s Attorney of McHenry County (hereinafter “Bianchi”), and three of his employees were the victims of politically and financially motivated unconstitutional and unlawful criminal investigations and prosecutions orchestrated by Defendant Thomas K. McQueen, in his role as a taxpayer funded “assistant” to special prosecutor Henry C. Tonigan, in concert with his co-Defendant private investigators, acting as special state’s attorney investigators.
“The investigations and prosecutions were the product of a conspiracy, initiated by Bianchi’s political enemies, to remove Bianchi from office by fabricating false criminal charges and prosecuting Bianchi and his employees for criminal offenses, despite the lack of probable cause or credible evidence to support such charges.
“To accomplish this goal, Defendants manufactured and fabricated false evidence, presented that false
evidence to a grand jury, concealed exculpatory evidence, and engaged in gross investigative
“As a result, Defendants obtained two highly publicized criminal indictments against Bianchi and a criminal indictment against three of his employees, Plaintiffs Joyce Synek, Ronald Salgado, and Michael McCleary, all of which were wholly unsupported by probable cause or credible evidence.
“The conspiracy crumbled when Bianchi resisted pressure to resign from office and instead proceeded to trial where he and Plaintiff Synek were acquitted of all charges by a directed finding, and where the charges against Plaintiffs Salgado and McCleary were dismissed by the trial court.
“Despite Defendants’ failure to force Bianchi from office, Plaintiffs suffered significant severe and permanent damages based on the constitutional and state law violations that resulted from Plaintiffs’ unlawful arrests, indictments, and prosecutions.”
Bianchi’s view of the motivation for the alleged “conspiracy” can be inferred from the following:
- Eliminating the abuse of plea bargaining with politically connected defense attorneys;
- Increasing the amount of hours that all SAO employees were required to work each day;
- Refusing to give special deals to political operatives, contributors, and friends of the previous administration; and
- Terminating the employment of SAO employees who were unqualified or unwilling to competently perform their assignments.
“As a result of these reforms, Bianchi frustrated political operatives in McHenry County, who had obtained more favorable accommodations with the previous administration, and other McHenry County department heads,
the court filing says.
The brief outlines the political history of Dan Regna’s running against Bianchi in the 2008 GOP primary election. The contention is made that the primary “sharply divided supporters of Bianchi’s reforms from the political operatives who supported Regna in an effort to return the SAO to its prior mode of operation.”
Next the alleged conspiracy is outlined:
“After failing in their efforts to legally remove Bianchi from office during the 2008 election, Bianchi’s political enemies initiated a politically motivated conspiracy to override the election and force Bianchi from office.
“The objective of this conspiracy was to violate the Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights through
- indicting, and
- publicly smearing
Bianchi, thereby causing him to resign his office, irreparably tarnish his public reputation, and allow his political opponents to install a State’s Attorney who would do their bidding.”
Steps alleged in the conspiracy are outlined, including Kristen Foley getting documents stolen from then State’s Attorney’s Office and revealing them to the media.
“In the meantime, on February 23, 2009, in the Circuit Court of McHenry County, Daniel Regna filed a politically motivated petition to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Bianchi, alleging that Dalby performed political work while working in the SAO,” the legal document continues.
This was followed by a petition filed by Amy Dalby on April 23, 2009.
The brief states that the allegations contained in Dalby’s brief expired no later than June of 2009, yet on September
4, 2009 Associate Judge Gordon Graham appointed a Special Prosecutor to probe the matter.
The “order limited [Henry] Tonigan’s authority, and likewise his assistant, Defendant McQueen, to investigating and/or prosecuting Dalby’s allegation that she performed political work at the SAO from December 2004 until July 2006.”
Ekl, Bianchi’s attorney, argues that Tonigan and McQueen, after interviewing Dalby in October of 2009, should have learned “at the very latest, that the statute of limitations barred any prosecution of Bianchi, or anyone else, for the allegations made by Dalby, even if true.”
The case should then have then been dismissed, the paper argues, but “Instead, Defendant McQueen and Tonigan began an illegal taxpayer funded investigation into Bianchi and the SAO that far exceeded the scope of their limited appointment.”
Tonigan sent a letter to Graham without notifying Bianchi that resulted in Judge Graham’signing “an order, granting Tonigan the authority to investigate and/or prosecute Bianchi and ‘any and all persons’ relative to any misappropriation or theft from ’2005 and thereafter.’”
McQueen’s name was not in the order.
That’s when Quest Consultants International entered the case.
Then, “McQueen began working directly with the Quest Investigators in the investigation of Bianchi and the SAO. McQueen led the investigation by interviewing witnesses personally and directing the Quest Investigators who to interview, what questions to ask, and what information to document and not document.”
Laying out what Ekl believe happened next, the brief says, “…a concerted effort to limit Tonigan’s role in and knowledge of their investigation.
“Furthermore, after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery, there likely will be evidentiary support that during the investigation, Defendants McQueen and the Quest Investigators purposefully presented Tonigan with manufactured inculpatory evidence and concealed material and exculpatory information from Tonigan.”
Co-conspirators enter the picture here:
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