First Electric Newspaper Editor Pete Gonigam filed a Freedom of Information request with the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department seeking documents about the investigation of Undersheriff Andy Zinke’s telling someone whose firm was getting a delivery which was apparently subject of a Drug Enforcement Administration probe about it.
Sheriff Keith Nygren denied Gonigam’s request.
Playing by the FOIA rules, Gonigam appealed to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office of Public Counsel.
The Attorney General’s Office recommended that Nygren release the investigatory report.
But Nygren has refused.
As allowed under the FOI Act, Gonigam took his request to court.
Wednesday, Judge Thomas Meyer held a hearing on the matter.
Sheriff”s Department Affirmative Action Officer Don Leist, who last worked for the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, filed an “instanter” motion “for appointment of a special assistant State’s Attorney,” but he wouldn’t elaborate when asked.
Mention was made that each individual named in the suit needed his or her own attorney.
Someone said that the McHenry County Board wanted separate representation from that of the Sheriff. The State’s Attorney, by law, represents both.
Gonigam’s attorney Mary Gardner pointed out that State law requires these Freedom of Information Act suits to be handed “expeditiously.”
So, what’s being hidden from Gonigam?
“It’s a binder [of] approximately 100 pages,” Leist revealed.
Gardner asked that the Judge require production of the document for review by the Judge as well as the exemption9s) in the FOI Act upon which Nygren bases his keeping the report secret.
Meyer said that he was “reluctant to engage in a substantive review until I [know whether there is an issue].”
The suit was put off until the Friday after next.
“We will get to the issue sooner, rather than later,” Meyer pledged.
Standing in front of the Judge were two Assistant State’s Attorneys–Norm Vinton and Brandy Quance–, Leist, Gardner, plus Sheriff Keith Nygren.