The following is from a comment on McHenry County Blog. Kirk Allen of Illinois Leaks (Edgar County Watchdogs) replies to criticism levied at him and Illinois Leaks’ publications.
If people want a discussion, then please let’s have one but if this is going to turn into a bunch of mud slinging without back up I am not going to engage.
Below are my comments to questions raised and statements made.
It was unethical of Gasser to give the Dog’s the video
– Gasser did not provide the video.
Stephen Pokorny :
“they are picking on me.”
– has nothing to do with any concerns of being picked on nor was that the point being made in the article.
It deals with well-established law on publication of information related to government.
Pentagon papers were stolen.
They ended up in the hands of the paper.
Those papers were top secret yet our courts made it very clear, the freedom of the press is sacred and as long as they were not a party to the theft of those records, they can publish.
The video is no different.
“Does not the court order say ”a protective order is entered that no distribution of the information will be made outside of this litigation unless given leave by the court?”
– Yes, it does say that, and that has nothing to do with the Township trying to have a video removed from our YouTube account.
That court order DOES NOT apply to us or anyone else that copies it and shares it online.
It applies to the parties in the case.
John has all the details that reflect the court order was on the subject of the video in the basement, not the one in the office but unless people have read the transcripts they would not have that information.
Did you receive a letter requesting that you not publish or distribute the video?
– NO we did not.
How actually is he trying to censor you?
– By attempting to have material we have legally published removed. That was his attempt at censoring our publication.
This went to You tube.
– Yes it did.
It’s always about you guys.
– This is about a free press, not just us.
Why no talk about Compass Minerals threatening litigation for not receiving payment for the “expensive salt”?
– Be happy to but understand the litigation for not paying is going to be against the Township, not the Road District as he submitted the bill and the trustee and Supervisor refused to pay it.
Now it is on them and case law supports that.
I received those records last week and reading the entire chain of communications it appears the Township may be facing an emergency order to pay the bill, which is a proper invoice.
Sorry, we did not get to things as fast as you think we should.
Looking at the chain of emails it appears the Peterbilt bill is going to be the bigger story.
It takes time and the Townships games have cost more money on that one as well.
They are looking for full payment.
– They are entitled to full payment and late fees under the prompt payment act.
Kirk told us this was all just BS and was rectified in past blogs.
– I did not say it was BS.
What was rectified was the failure to bid.
What is a lie is the NWH reporting salt was “purchased” without bidding.
That is not true.
The analysis we provided was based on a substantial amount of legal research and so far numerous attorney’s have agreed with that research.
What part of the research do you disagree with?
Doesn’t seem to be true now does it?
– What doesn’t seem to be true? You need to be specific and not speak in such general fashion as we have no clue what you’re pointing to as not being true.
What about the legal fees to rectify this if you are interested in wasting money on legal fees?
– I have said they should pay the bill to avoid legal fees. I have also said this will be a Township problem as they pay the bills not the Road District. Even Gooch said the Road District has no power to pay bills so who’s problem is this now?
But then it must be quid pro quo for receiving a copy of the video in the first place.
– What must be a quid pro quo? We have never operated on any quid pro quo for any of our work.
We’ll just excuse Gasser for incompetence costing the taxpayers money.
– You say excuse when in reality, all the legal research we have done on this type of thing the courts are pretty clear.
If you don’t like the performance of an official you have a vote.
His screw up cost the taxpayers money.
Board members screw-ups cost the taxpayers money.
Hell, the government in general costs the taxpayers’ money.
Unless it rises to the level of criminal, there is nothing that can be done except expose it and vote them out.
How much did salt cost us in 2017?
– $57.37 a ton.
I do have some Miller numbers that show he paid even more in the past.
He paid $131.90 a ton in 2009 on one of three purchases.
Combining all three they paid an average of $126.47 a ton and while we are still trying to confirm, it is being claimed by past employees that it was not bid out.
If it was bid out, great, he bid it out.
If not, then it’s another example of failing to follow the law.
That subjects him to scrutiny, just like Gasser and a proper evaluation to determine if it rises to the level of criminal.
Did he bid it or not then?
– No, he did not bid it out in 2017, however it was purchased at a bid price, which was obtained by Miller and the company provided it at that bid price from that contract done by miller. He paid $57.37 a ton that year. We are working on getting the contract.
You only pick and choose what you want to report.
– Are you suggesting we should have someone else make the determination as to what we report?
We actually do have a priority list we work from on numerous projects and Algonquin is not our only project.
I understand it is easy to sit back and take such a position when there is something you want reported but just because we don’t report what you think we should does not mean we are ignoring it for some ulterior motive as some have insinuated.
For example, there is some things reported by other folks that does not justify us repeating them unless they are so off base that they need to be exposed for failing to disclose key points.
With that in mind, we publish what we know and can prove.
From that, some say we failed to report this or that, failing to understand or accept we may not have had that information for numerous reasons.
Every article leads to more tips that expand the story and we do our best to keep telling it.
Never all the facts.
– Easy to say but not exactly a standard anyone can meet in this type of exposure.
Even the best of the best in journalism never have all the facts.
They have most and may even think they have all but more often than not, after they publish, there is more information that trickles in that expands the story.
Sometimes its worthy of going back and writing an update, other times it does not change the overall point made in the original story. Of what we have published, our facts were supported with documents and statutes.
And you call the NWH slanted.
– I don’t recall calling them slanted.
What I have seen, is a pattern of avoiding anything of significant negativity on certain people for reasons I can’t explain.
An example is found in the fact they have not FOIA’d a single thing for Bob Miller yet they have piled on for Gasser stuff.
While I have no problem holding current officials accountable by checking the records for their actions, you can’t ignore the past just because it is the past.
There is a HUGE story in those time cards!
Since the paper has not reported on the time cards does that mean they are picking and choosing?
Shouldn’t they too be reporting on it or do they get a pass now that we reported on it?