Reply to Freedom of Information Request for Authorization to Use Sheriff’s Office Email Account for Campaign Purposes

Ten days ago, I filed a Freedom of Information request with the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department asking the following question: “Under the FOIA I request all documents that authorize Andy Zinke to use his official email for campaign purposes.” The … Continue reading

Suit Seeking to Force Keith Nygren to Follow Attorney General’s FOIA Recommendation to Release 100-Page Zinke DEA Report Delayed

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 … Continue reading

Sheriff’s Department Freedom of Information Games

It was the discovery of more marijuana growing in the Hebron area in a press release issued by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department that reminded me of the August 2008 and August 2009 discoveries of three pot fields, some of … Continue reading

First Electric Newspaper Learns Undersheriff Andy Zinke Misconduct Exoneration Made by Campaign Supporter Sheriff Keith Nygren

When the announcement was made to the Northwest Herald that Underheriff Andy Zinke had been cleared of wrongdoing when he told a subject about a Drug Enforcement Administration probe, it sounded more than a little fishy. Pete Gonigam, who publishes … Continue reading

McHenry County College Explains Why Health & Fitness Club Study Is Top Secret, Hush, Hush

Woodstock attorney Jane Collins wondered what backed up the power point presentation (see Part 1 and Part 2) given to the McHenry County College Board about the proposed Health & Fitness Club, plus almost doubling the size of the classroom … Continue reading

Citizens/Media Can Get Public Officials’ Arrest Records

Our family went to Galena mid-week and, besides seeing skiers on Spring Break for the first time at Chestnut Ridge, I found a press release from the Public Access Division of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. It was in The … Continue reading

Planning to Win an Election? Put May 2nd on Your Calendar

A press release from the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office: STATE’S ATTORNEY’S OFFICE SPONSORS LOCAL GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY AND ETHICS SEMINAR Louis A. Bianchi is pleased to announce that the State’s Attorney’s Office is sponsoring a free seminar on local government … Continue reading

A Look at Part of Johnsburg’s Freedom of Information Fight with Maggie Haney

The Village of Johnsburg posted a press release attacking Mary Haney and her husband for the cost of replying to Freedom of Information requests. It showed up a day after Haney, running for Village President against incumbent Ed Hettermann, delivered … Continue reading

Third Try for Documents Listing Mental Health Board Legal Expenses That Can Be Easily Shared with You

A couple of weeks ago on January 24th, I asked for the last two year’s legal expenses for the 708 Mental Health Board. I asked that this information be provided by email, specifically writing, “Thanks for fulfilling this request via … Continue reading

School Boards Seek to Make Freedom of Information Requests Harder

The following was written by Scott Reeder, the journalist in residence at the Illinois Police Institute: EDUCATING IN THE DARK As a journalist, I have filed thousands of Freedom of Information Act requests with Illinois school districts and uncovered major … Continue reading

Crystal Lake Loses Precedent-Setting FOIA Ruling on Hiding High Salaried Employees’ Names

This past spring I asked various municipalities to provide emailed lists of their employees who made over $75,000 in salary and fringe benefits. Many complied with the names and compensation information. The City of Crystal Lake sent the information, but … Continue reading

One Reason the Teachers Retirement System Is in Trouble

I filed a Freedom of Information request with Illinois’ Downstate Teachers Retirement Fund. I came up dry and got a reply through an email. But, TRS also sent me a letter by Certified Mail I talked to them about it, … Continue reading

Spring Grove Refuses to Turn Over Andy Zinke’s Emailed Campaign Pitch

On night last week, I shot off 20-30 Freedom of Information requests for emails from announced McHenry County Sheriff candidate Andy Zinke. I’ve gotten a lot of replies. Today I received my first rejection. It was from the Village of … Continue reading

Crystal Lake Elementary School Doesn’t Know How Much Democrats’ Proposed Pension Shift from State to Real Estate Taxpayer Might Cost

I have to say I am disappointed that Crystal Lake District 47 has no idea of how much it might cost to shift the financing of teacher pensions from state taxpayers to local taxpayers. In a Freedom of Information Request, … Continue reading

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas Fails the Telephone Access Test

I see the mention of the Village of Barrington Hill’s failure to answer Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas’ request for debt information in Tuesday’s Chicago Tribune editorial. That failure was noticed and memorialized by The Barrington Hills Observer. On that … Continue reading

McHenry County Board Refuses to Reveal Applicants for Regional Superintendent of Education Post

The first time I asked, I had no problem getting applications from those applying for the vacant McHenry County Superintendent of Schools post. This is the elected official, you will recall, whose shoes have been filled by the Lake County … Continue reading

McHenry County Deputy Sheriff Scott Milliman’s Dismissal Letter Less Redacted after Illinois Attorney General’s Intervention

The game of hiding information from the public that Sheriff Keith Nygren is playing with regard to his firing of Deputy Scott Milliman after he gave a deposition in Deputy Zane Seipler’s wrong termination suit has had a couple of … Continue reading

Point, Counter Point – Sotos, Horwitz Both Request Sanctions – Part 4

Today, we move to the fourth installment on the motion filed by former Deputy Sheriff Zane Seipler’s lawyer Blake Horwitz requesting sanctions against McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren for releasing confidential information. This is occurring in Seipler’s Federal wrongful termination … Continue reading

McHenry County College Won’t Reveal Management Faults

Most of what outside auditors do is pretty dry. Having served on the Illinois Legislative Audit Commission, I’ve read enough of them. The real interesting stuff is in the Management Letter. When I saw McHenry County College Board Agenda for … Continue reading