Gonigam Gets Permission to See Summary of Zinke Exoneration Report

Andy Zinke at a County Board meeting.

Andy Zinke at a County Board meeting.

Because the sound system is so bad, I can’t be sure what was said in the courtroom of Thomas Meyer Thursday morning.

But I think he ruled that the Sheriff’s Office had waived its right to use an excuse in the Freedom of Information Act that was being advanced to keep The First Electric Newspaper’s Pete Gonigam from getting a copy of the summary of former Sheriff Keith Nygren’s report which exonerated Undersheriff and then GOP primary candidate for Sheriff Andy Zinke for telling a campaign contributor about a DEA investigation.

I did hear Judge Meyer say that “the issue is whether the defendant has waived any of the claims…” Then the Judge’s voice faded away.

Part of his consideration was whether Zinke was acting in his official capacity or on his own behalf.

The Judge said that Zinke was “not acting pursuant to the direction of the Sheriff…that Lt. Zinke did not have explicit authority…” to share the summary with a reporter from the Northwest Herald.

Then, I heard, “Lt. Zinke’s disclosure of the summary of the report waived any exemptions [with regard to the summary].”

So, I guess that means Gonigam is on his way to at least a partial victory, which will mean his attorney, Mary Gardner, will have to paid legal fees for her work on his behalf.

The next question was where could the report summary be located.

Judge Meyer didn’t think he had it.

“I thought I returned it to you,” he said, I think, to those from the State’s Attorney’s Office.

But neither Assistant State’s Attorney Brandy Quance or First Assistant Norm Vinton said their office had it.

I think it was Quance who said that Don Leist, a former Nygren employee, had “testified there was a copy made.”

Gonigam’s attorney pointed out that it had been filed with the Appellate Court.

Vinton said that he would talk to newly-installed Sheriff Bill Prim concerning whether or not the decision should be appealed.

Gardner said her client couldn’t decide whether to appeal until “we’ve actually seen the summary.”

“By the 9th [of January], you’ll probably both know what you’re going to do,” Meyer concluded.

Afterward, Gonigam remarked, “If they can find it.”

The court order is below:
Zinke FOIA court order 12-18-14 p1Zinke FOIA court order 12-18-14 p2


Gonigam Gets Permission to See Summary of Zinke Exoneration Report — 15 Comments

  1. Well, AZ – Know something we don’t????

    If it is such a NOTHING why not hand it over?

  2. I don’t believe the newspaper should be off the hook either. That Sarah Sutschek is a nutty piece of work. She was willing to sell her soul to get dirt for a story. To call her a whore would be complimentary. I presume she’s been fired by the paper.

    The newspaper was repeatedly complicit with such under the table dealings with the MCSO. They should be held accountable too.

  3. AZ supporter, you think it’s a waste of time because someone thinks they have everything

    l.o.l. l.o.l. wait

  4. Nothing like corruption “McHenry County Style” Just in case you haven’t heard AZ the Regime has no more power in our community.

  5. Taxing districts can’t cherry pick which press organizations receive information when a FOIA is involved.

    There’s at least once precedent for that, Mark O Stern vs Wheaton Warrenville CUSD 200 school district.

    And regarding the cursive handwriting in the court order.

    A lot of school districts only provide a cursory lesson or two on, in a cursory grade or two, on cursive writing, if in fact they teach it at all.

    Cursive is not mandated in the school code.

    Not saying it should be mandated, or to what extent it should be mandated.

    But someday a lot of people might not be able to read a court order in cursive.

  6. Nothing wrong with the written court order and the message to Zink man came out loud and clear.

  7. I ranted for several years about poor voice projection in several courtrooms, but the County Judges refuse sound amplification equipment.


    I guess they don’t want the public to hear what’s going on.

    I almost laughed out loud one day in Judge Meyer’s courtroom, when even he could not hear the two lawyers who were standing in front of him.

    He first leaned slightly forward, then he leaned over his desk, and finally he told them that they were going to have to speak up!

  8. Of course, Pete Gonigam should get the summary.

    And not just the summary; he should get the full report!

    What’s up with that they can’t find it?

    The Court should have a copy.

    The State’s Attorney should have a copy.

    The Sheriff’s Department should have a copy.

    Leist didn’t take it with him, did he?

    Zinke didn’t take it with him, did he?

    It should have taken Judge Meyer about one second to rule that Zinke was conducting business as an MCSD employee, when he spoiled the DEA investigation by revealing it to Brian Goode, the President of RITA Corporation.

    Nobody in his right mind would have done that.

    Maybe Zinke should have been escorted to South Street for three days.

    Sheriff Prim could make an executive decision to respond now to Gonigam’s FOIA request and provide the Report on Monday morning.

    Why doesn’t he?

  9. #6 in the Order should have read, “In the event Defendant REDACTS (not “reacts”) anything …”

  10. Gus, remember those shredders when Zinke knew he lost to Prim.

    They went on overtime.

    Maybe all is not lost.

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