2nd Ethics Complaint against Andy Zinke Dismissed for Lack of Sufficiency

Undersheriff Andy Zinke was taken off the ethics hook for a second time before the McHenry County Ethics Commission Thursday afternoon.

This mailing was submitted as evidence.

This mailing was submitted as evidence.

Former Sheriff’s Deputy Zane Seipler filed the complaint along with evidence of Zinke having had his photo taken in the Harvard Police Department with Harvard policemen as a backdrop.  The clock on the wall read slightly after three.

The second piece of evidence submitted was a dvd of the Chicago ABC news story on the Sheriff’s race.

Zinke’s part of the story is shot in the Sheriff’s Office.

The beginning of the segment on Andy Zinke shows this wall in the Sheriff's Office.

Near the beginning of the segment on Andy Zinke shows this wall in the Sheriff’s Office.

Zinke is seen in his office.

Andy Zinke is interviewed in his office.  Not the text under Zinke's name reads, "

Andy Zinke is interviewed in his office. Not the text under Zinke’s name reads, “(R) CANDIDATE MCHENRY COUNTY SHERIFF.”

Campaign literature is seen on a desk or table.

Zinke for Sheriff campaign literature is seen in the ABC story, presumably on a surface in the Sheriff's Department where the story was shot.

Zinke for Sheriff campaign literature is seen in the ABC story, presumably on a surface in the Sheriff’s Department where the story was shot.

Zinke is seen interrupting two employees for the benefit of the camera.

Andy Zinke looks over the shoulder of an employee he supervises on the ABC broadcast.

Andy Zinke looks over the shoulder of an employee he supervises on the ABC broadcast.

Andy Zinke interrupts an employee's work for the ABC camera.

Andy Zinke interrupts an employee’s work for the ABC camera.

Next the story touched upon the “feud” between McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren and State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi.

Turning to campaign opponent Bill Prim, ABC interviews him in his home.

Bill Prim is interviewed in his Cary living room for his candidate profile.

Bill Prim is interviewed in his Cary living room for his candidate profile.

Having set the stage, let me state the telling question asked by Ethics Commission Chairman Thomas Spencer:

“Does the involvement in that video amount to campaigning for him?”

That was the key question to Spencer concerning whether the complaint should be sent to the McHenry County State’s Attorney “for further review.”

During the hearing Andy Zinke didn't want his photo taken.  He is sitting next to his attorney Rebecca Lee.  In the back row is County Administrator Peter Austin.

During the hearing Andy Zinke didn’t want his photo taken. He is sitting next to his attorney Rebecca Lee. In the back row is County Administrator Peter Austin.

Right before the vote, Ethics Commission member Scott Hartman said,

“I struggle with the presence of the campaign literature and whether its presence represents prohibited political activity.”

Chairman Spencer then moved that the complain be considered “sufficient.”

Hartman seconded the motion.

Chairman Spencer explained that “a yes vote is a finding that the complaint is sufficient.” He further explained that the motion requited three affirmative votes.

Melissa Hernandez listens to Scott Hartman make a point.

Melissa Hernandez listens to Scott Hartman make a point.

(Two commission members–Cherie Ricket and John White failed to attend the meeting.)

Thomas Spencer

Thomas Spencer

Melissa Hernandez and Hartmen voted “Yes.”

Chairman Spencer voted “No.”

So, the motion failed.

The complaint was brought by former Deputy Sheriff Zane Seipler.

Introductory remarks, he noted the “staunch political allies of Mr. Zinke in the audience” and hoped that they would not exert undue influence on Commission members.

Among those in the audience were Sheriff Keith Nygren and County Board Chairwoman Tina Hill.

“The political climate of McHenry County is changing,” Seipler said.  “They may be influential, but I expect the Commission to do the right thing.”

Rebecca Lee presents Andy Zinke's defense to the ethics complaint filed by Zane Seipler (front row left).  In the back row is Sheriff Keith Nygren.  In the front row is Deputy Sheriff Bob Schlenkert.

Rebecca Lee presents Andy Zinke’s defense to the ethics complaint filed by Zane Seipler (front row left). In the back row is Sheriff Keith Nygren. Next to Seipler in the front row is Deputy Sheriff Bob Schlenkert.

Attorney Rebecca Lee represented Zinke.

She pointed out that Zinke “routinely conducts comments with the media..during compensated time, [but] he was not on the clock for this interview, so the “County wasn’t deprived of anything.”

Concerning the Harvard photo, she said that the complaint “doesn’t allege compensation at the time.”

She asked the Commission to “consider [the complaint’s] source and to deny it as “meritless.”

McHenry County Board Chairwoman was seating in the front row of the audience and, after some discussion of the attempt to find a replacement for Herandez and the fact that one applicant already serves in another appointive position, Hill concluded that the County Board “probably should re-open the application process.”

= = = = =
On the trip back to Crystal Lake I reflected on the conclusion by Chairman Thomas Spencer, an attorney-at-law allowed to practice for five and a half years, that Andy Zinke’s appearance in a TV  news story on the Sheriff’s race in McHenry County could not be construed to be “campaigning.”

What a stunning disconnect from reality!

Didn’t he see what was written under the name of Andrew Zinke?


“Candidates” are involved in campaigning.

Either Spencer is hopelessly naive or something else was going on.


2nd Ethics Complaint against Andy Zinke Dismissed for Lack of Sufficiency — 51 Comments

  1. Here is a link to the McHenry County Ethic Commission;
    Here are the bullet points from the middle of that page;

    Under the McHenry County Ethic Ordinance County “officers” cannot:

    Perform “prohibited political activities” during any “compensated time”

    Intentionally use County property or resources in connection with any “prohibited political activity”

    Require another officer or employee to perform a “prohibited political activity”

    It would appear that two of these rules were violated…what am I missing?

    This all needs to be further investigated…something is fishy!

  2. Zinke’s campaign gained much more local publicity from ALL of the positive Zinke ‘stories’ the Northwest Herald ran prior to the election.

    Based on reports published in the NWH, one could have come to the conclusion that Zinke was already Sheriff.

    Let us pray for an honest recount.

  3. Dentbla you are so so right.

    Although it is easier to control 1 vote than if the rest of the committee would have shown up.

    This should be investigated further.

    and for you AZ supporter you are just as corrupt as the rest of the Nygren/Zinke group. You must
    have some kind of benefit if Zinke would have won the primary.

    Hope you are exposed at some point in time.

  4. People of McHenry County should not stand for this and yes it must be further investigated !!!!!

  5. The political reality is Zane has been marginalized as a spokesperson for morality.

    He has been found guilty of perjury and continues to give the outward impression of a petulant angry child.

    If anyone else had brought this complaint it may have carried more credibility.

    The very wealthy connected people behind Zane would do him a great service in benching him from public fights til he is squared away again.

  6. Cal you are right, but the Nygren/Zinke Regime has made a folly out of McHenry County.

    It has been their own personal playground for too long.

    I pray the change is coming and these people who have had control will be put in a playpen . . . and one at a time be locked up.

  7. People are people Cal. Politics is centered around people. What I wish and the way the world works are differing paths. I wish ideas and civil discourse were the foundation of society’s movement. As evidenced in the comment section of your blog people are violent bullies when their ideas are challenged. I don’t like this idiocy just as I loathe the hypocrisy on both sides which lead to this latest miscarriage. What I believe matters nothing. All that matters is what may be achieved and using faulty vessels to carry political messages bodes ill for the success of the message in our world. Sorry Cal. You try. The powers and wealth behind Zane are to blame for a very naive inept political move. They need to wise up or hire better consultants to continue their takeover of the county.


    An opinion based on circumstantial information.

    You are all wet.

    If he was guilty of perjury he would have been arrested.

    I strongly believe that if the depos were not sealed, you would be changing your tune.

  9. Priest, just call it what it is: Petty bullshit.

    There was no merit for this claim.

    It was founded on rhetorical nonsense.

    And now Zane has cost the McHenry County taxpayers additional time and money.

  10. Why would an “innocent” man cover his face???

    Priest, if you would read Seipler’s complaint, then you would see it had more proof and merit than what was presented to say that Zane lied about the blog.

  11. You are right Priest what you believe doesn’t matter.

    Nygren and Zinke have made fools out of the people of McHenry County and the people around and support them have been so corrupt that they think it is normal.

    It shouldn’t make any difference who files a complaint if the facts are there the facts are there and should be weighed by the facts but in this case they were not.

  12. I think what Zinke and his ilk do not realize is that having that broadcast from his office COST ZINKE VOTES.

    I heard from people that they were disgusted by Zinke doing this.

    I, as well as others noticed the time on the piece with the cops.

    If you do read the complaint, you will plainly see that there were activity that were against the statutes.

    The 2 that voted in that direction were correct in doing so.

    People in Cook County have gone to jail and put on probation for this kind of activity.

    Brown in Cook got into big trouble just for using the wrong stationery for a campaign issue.

    Seipler has the guts to do what others are afraid to and this was THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

  13. FYI- When a Federal Court levies a massive fine against Zane Seipler for performing court prohibited behavior while Zane protests his innocence of performing said behavior because his “wife did it” I might say public impression may be he is a liar.

    He may want to clean up his moral image before bringing a complaint based upon moral outrage.

    Whether he is in the right or not on any legal issue matters nothing in a court of public moral issues.

    Fair Play- Let’s not blame the victim.

    Zane has been a pawn, albeit willing, in an inept game of checkers between two very powerful factions.

    Those powers on both sides have cost this county millions while bludgeoning each other with taxpayer funds.

    Both factions need to stand down and stand aside to save us all from continued hypocrisy and waste.

    Backatyou- Zinke LOATHES Cal.

    I’m sure he just didn’t want to participate in Cals blog the same way anyone who tries not to have pictures taken by paparazzi hides.

    To equate this with guilty behavior is naive at best.

    The rest of your post is illiterate.

    Voter- I have read your many posts and you are either naive or stupid.

    With your inability to read with comprehension I’m inclined to put you with my little dancing monkey.

    Put a cogent thought together without hate and idiocy attached and I may decide to engage you further.

  14. L.O.L maybe one day Priest you will find out just how naive and stupid I really am.

    My inability to read with comprehension will maybe one day be
    disclosed. l.o.l.

    and one day I might even get a chance to walk up to you and say ” Now how stupid and naive am I Priest?”

  15. Okay. You win voter.

    You’re stupid.

    No need for further demonstration.

    I’ll willingly offer you the title of “stupid” in perpetuity.

  16. No personal integrity from the machine belieeving people.

    When I see people arguing from a perspective of stupid, I get angry all over again.

    Another attorney that is a crook. Why is anyone surprised?

  17. Cindy, Please don’t think I am arguing with Priest over him calling me stupid.

    I do think he should change his name.

    You are right Duncan something should change with some of the people on the Ethics Committee.

    There are a lot of changes coming to McHenry County for the better so we all have to hang in there.

  18. Priest, aka Pyle the pedophile.

    Zane’s prohibited behavior was to not disclose actual county documents of the MCSO.

    I congratulate who ever posted them.

    When Zane’s case is over, all of the documents will reach the public.

    And when Prim takes over I’m sure the RITA report will finally make it to the public.

    You assholes better start shredding as many documents as you can, your time is coming.

    Discipline up to termination and/or criminal prosecution may be in order.

  19. We need an Ethics Commission for the Ethics Commission.

    Anyone that wants can write a letter expressing their concerns to Chairman of the Ethics Commission, Thomas B. Spencer IV at 65 Catherine Ct., Crystal Lake IL 60014.

  20. There something called “probable cause”.

    The members of the ethics commission should know what that is.

    This case should have gone forward.

  21. Hey Andy and Keith still looking fat and happy. You both, may want to think about cutting back on all of that over buttered popcorn. If you think you are addicted, and some say you are, you may want to think about:


    1. We admitted we were powerless over popcorn and butter—that our lives had become unmanageable.

    2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. (FROM ABOVE) and free us from butter and popcorn.

    3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of that from above as we understood our addiction to popcorn.

    4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Desperately needed and required to recover from butter and popcorn addiction.

    5. Admitted to the one from above, to ourselves, and to other human beings the exact nature of our wrongs. That means, all of the people of McHenry County.

    6. Were entirely ready to have the one from above remove all these defects of character.

    7. Humbly asked the one from above to remove our shortcomings. PRAY DEEEPLY and REGULARLY.

    8. Make a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. THAT INCLUDES PETE GONIGAM Zane Seipler Scott Milliman and others.

    9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. Do it anyway. Everyone needs to know about all of your shortcomings.

    10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

    11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with the one from above, as we understood, praying only for knowledge of will from the one above for us and the power to carry that out.

    12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to all those that face butter and popcorn addiction, “”Let’s Make a Deal” addiction and “The Price is Right” addiction and to practice these principles in all our affairs including the ethics committee.

  22. Cal, Regarding your last comment on Thomas Spencer……..

    I think something else is going on !

    Everyone should write a letter to the Ethics Commission.

  23. Question: Why weren’t all the members there to vote?

    2 voted yes so shouldn’t that be that Zinke was found quilty?

    Whats with 3 have to agree?

    Sounds like Spencer is a Nygren man.

    Should this go further, I sure hope so……..

    Will another party look into this?

  24. Thanks for the address.

    Somehow writing a letter to Thomas complaining about Thomas doesn’t seem like a solution.

  25. At least in the photo next to his attorney he is not only hiding his face but also his middle finger.

    That must be something new for him.

  26. Cindy, writing him a letter won’t change anything, but maybe you could tell him what you think about his brilliant decision.

    I know that if Zane was the one facing the complaint they would have tried to vote for the death penalty.

  27. Looks like we all have to wait ’til BILL PRIM IS SHERIFF, for the McHenry County Ethics Commission to BECOME ETHICAL !

  28. I wonder if “The State Of Illinois Executive Ethics Commission” would find Zinke in violation of the ethics act.

    They provide “guidance to ethics officers” through this commission.

    Maybe “someone” should have asked for THEIR ETHICAL advice, before making a wrong decision……

    I’m sure they would have explained what Candidate and Campaigning mean……..

    I know they meet at least once a month.

  29. Were all these Harvard police officers on duty when they had their picture taken with Zinke?

  30. Something that McHenry County taxpayers should be made aware of is the debacle at the jail concerning the bed rental program.

    The US Marshall’s office pulled out their last few paying detainees.

    The number of ICE detainees left is app 100 with numbers dwindling also, leaving the number of beds rented at the lowest number in near a decade.

    This trend has been going on for years.

    Despite this trend, the jail is run the same way with near empty or completely empty cell-blocks with more supervisors than ever, more specialty teams and ridiculous amounts of overtime.

    The end result is that the jail is losing tens of thousands of dollars a day in the bed rental program.

    It is hard to believe that with all this going on the jail administration is still trying to hire more correctional officers.

    The new Sheriff is going to inherit an incredible mess but those who have caused it should be held responsible.

    It’s not difficult to understand; if your staff, supervisors, specialty jobs go up while your detainees drop to 25% of your original numbers then you go from a profitable endeavor started by Sheriff Nygren to one that is costing the County a veritable fortune.

    Thank God the taxpayers have deep pockets to pay for this disaster!

  31. I think another agency should go over the first ethics complaint and the second complaint and do another investigation.

    Plain and simple Zinke is guilty and should be accountable.

  32. The County Board should immediately replace Ethics Commission members Cherie Ricket and John White for failing to attend the scheduled meeting.

    Would one of them have voted “Yes” on sufficiency?

    Cal, I agree with you about Spencer.

    Of course, Zinke was using his official County office for campaign purposes.

    The County Board should replace him, too.

  33. Gus you are right.

    They knew about the meeting but did not fulfill their responsibility.

    Yes they should be fired.

    Now how can we get that done?

  34. The public must exert pressure on the County Board to replace three members of the Ethics Commission – Spencer, Rickert and White.

    Pleas should be made by Mail, Email, Phone and in-person at County Board meetings until they act.

  35. Gus–so you’re advocating replacing Spencer just because he doesn’t agree with you and the more discordant posters on this blog?

    Why stop there, replace any and all people, in every and all positions who have a divergent opinion or point of view from you why we’re at it?

    This is how democracy fails and fascism takes over.

    I don’t disagree with replacing those members (or holding them accountable) who failed to attend…but to remove someone because they don’t agree with your position/agenda/vendetta is just plain wrong and silly.

    Folks, we’re talking about a picture (that took a second to take) and a news segment (about the contention and faction between the Republican Party—not on Zinke’s election) here (BTW Cal, it clearly appears as though the ‘interruption’ was staged for the camera)…

  36. Hi, I have something on my chest that I cannot restrain myself from speaking out.

    I first want to say that my office and I voted for Zinke, so please understand we are not Zinke haters.

    We think that some or all the members in McHenry County Ethics Commission might have developed a friendship over the years with members the Sheriff’s Department. This may be the reason why they did not find Zinke guilty and dismissed the charges out of friendship.

    We can understand that to be a possibility and we can accept that, because what other reason could it be to dismiss the ABC interview.

    What we are having a hard time accepting is that if this was the reason out of friendship, is why Zinke, knowing that as clear as day, he was guilty as sin, doing this interview in his office, would put these members in the hot seat.

    Instead of taking responsibility that he messed up, or even made a mistake, which we are all human, comes with his attorney with this dim-witted excuse. My seven year old wouldn’t even buy that retarded explanation, and we cannot believe that the McHenry County Ethics Commission bought it either.

    Over several months, the Prim people have been saying that Zinke does not take responsibility, and thinks he is above the law. The Zinke people come out and defend him with a number of excuses trying to convince the Prim people that they are wrong.

    I thank God now that I was not one of them defending Zinke, because I would look like an ass right now.

  37. Doreen, As a Prim supporter..Thank You for your comment .

    Although you believe that the reason they found Zinke not guilty was out of friendship, ( And, I am not as understanding or accepting as you ), I think Intimidation is more the truth.

    The Ethical Commission SHOULD be and is SUPPOSED to be ETHICAL……friendships have nothing to do with it.

    Spencer should have had all the members in attendance ,with majority rules.

    As by the results, obviously Spencer was the only so called friend of Zinke.

    The other two members knew the meaning of Ethical………


    Please send your letter to the board

  38. Really?: I am one of those “discordant” blog writers.

    Discordant is a rather terse term to use, but I think you were fair and accurate to use it.

    We are “discordant” because of the vile and nasty way we have been treated by the other side of the Republican Party.

    That other side was led by Nygren (whose heir was supposed to be Zinke).

    Nygren was a thug who ruled by favoritism/penalty.

    If you weren’t on his side he tried to destroy you.

    That is why the Sheriff has such political power and that race is so much more important than the others county races.

    Now Nygren is history.

    His legacy is failure and failure; besides everyone knows he was a Democrat.

    So, liberal leaning politicians and the thugs comprise one coalition while conservatives and “discordants” are on the other.

    I don’t see many coming together.

  39. Doreen,

    Thanks for expressing your views but what you don’t understand is that the

    Prim supporters were very strong on their comments regarding Zinke and were well justified.

    If you only really knew what the Nygren/Zinke people did to the citizens of McHenry County you too may have been a Prim supporter.

    You call it having and developing friendships but what other people know it to be is intimidation and even intimidation by association.

    The Ethic commission should all have been there and if for some reason they could not attend they should have rescheduled the hearing.

    If the people on the Ethics board can not give a honest finding and let their feeling effect their decision then they should not be on the board.

  40. It’s not called the “Friendship Commission”

    It’s called the “Ethics Commision “!!!!!!!

  41. “Priest’ There is plenty of over buttered popcorn.

    Go ahead, go back for seconds. Gordy won’t care…

    Just don’t take too long, you might mis out on those special editions of “Let’s Make a Deal” and “The Price is Right”

    Although, Gordy has probably scheduled the reruns over and over again.

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