The McHenry County Board’s decision-makers have released the bills and court orders even members of the Finance and Audit Committee were not important enough to show.
The bills, however, are not anything like what your or I would receive from a lawyer we might hire.
There is no indication of the hourly rate of payment to the two special prosecutors–Henry Tonigan and Thomas McQueen–or consulting firm Quest Consultants. No itemization about the investigation of McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi.
Just lump sums owed.
The letter from Assistant Attorney General Sunil Bhave explains that the county initially denied my request and the Public Access Counselor
“directed the County to explain in detail its basis for withholding the requested information.
“The County subsequently has provided us with all of the information in its possession that is responsive to your FOIA request.”
Let’s look at the documents sequentially.
First there’s the February 1, 2010, hand-written court order signed by Associate Judge Gordon Graham. It says Tonigan filed a motion asking for approval of his fees. The order says, “the court being fully advised.”
Judge Gordon Graham's February 1, 2010, court order to pay $34, 231.40 to Special Prosecutor Henry Tonigan and his assistant Thomas McQueen.
From Sept 4, 2009 through December 31, 2009, Tonigan 3was to get $21,987.50 and McQuinn $12,243.90. The judge orders the county to pay “within___days of this order.” (The number of days is not on the copy I received.)
Next comes a February 1st letter from Tonigan to McHenry County Administrator Peter Austin enclosing and explaining the court order.
Henry Tonigan's February 1, 2010, cover letter to the court order. No itemization of services rendered was provided for the County Board.of servc
A second court order, this time typed, was entered by Judge Graham on August 20th, but apparently typed on August 13th. It asks for payment of $74,306.69 to the two lawyers, plus a consulting firm. (Maybe someone can find the Quest web site.)
Judge Gordon Graham orders $74,306.69 paid in this August 20, 2010, court order.
It says,”Henry C. Tonigan of Kelleher & Buckley, LLC, Robert McQueen and Quest Consultants, Ltd. have submitted itemized bills for services rendered in this matter from January 1, 2010 through June 30, 2010, and the Court having reviewed each of them” orders McHenry County to pay
- $16,112.50 to Tonigan
- $18,497.35 to McQueen
- $39,696.84 to Quest Consultants
Finally, there is an August 20, 2010, letter from Tonigan accompanying that court order asking for payment.
The August 20, 2010, letter from Special Prosecutor Henry Tonigan gives no more information than the court order from Judge Gordon Graham.
It even says, “If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to give me a call.”
Maybe next time, some County Board members will request an itemized bill as I assume they are provided for all other expenditures, if they want one.
A quick review of the system of checks and balances suggested in the Federalist Papers:
Three branches of government, each with its own unique powers:
In the case of county government, the legislative branch has executive branch functions as well.
One final thought:
Why on earth didn’t the County Board’s leaders just provide this to the county board in the first place?
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