According to Pete Gonigam’s article on Thursday’s Freedom of Information Act hearing on attorney’s fees, there was an additional $5,000 fine ordered by Judge Thomas Meyer.
$5,000 is the maximum fine for violating the Freedom of Information Act.
Gonigam sought the report exonerating Undersheriff Andy Zinke of any wrongdoing when he told a subject to a Drug Enforcement Agency investigation in Crystal Lake.
Former Sheriff Keith Nygren, who endorsed Zinke as his replacement, refused to release the document to Gonigam even though Zinke had showed it to the Northwest Herald and even after the Illinois Attorney General issued an opinion saying he should.
The First Electric Newspaper says, “Deputy [McHenry County] Administrator Scott Hartman emailed FEN Wednesday that McHenry County was ready to pay the $5,000.”
“The egregiousness was he [Zinke] was trying to manipulate the disclosure to people he knew would be favorable,” FEN reports Judge Meyer said.
Gonigam notes that the money will come in handy.
“That’ll help finance the appeal to close the hole in the Illinois Freedom of Information Act before anyone one else in one of McHenry County’s other 138 governmental bodies tries to jump through it,” he said.