Sheriff Nygren’s Campaign Protection of Zinke Costs Taxpayers $78,000

$78,299.96 to be exact.

That’s what it will cost taxpayers because former McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren refused to provide information that a decision of the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Division said he should make available under the Freedom of Information Act.

Pete Gonigam and Mary Gardner

The First Electric Newspaper’s Pete Gonigam and his attorney Mary Gardner.

That’s the legal fees and court costs awarded by Judge Thomas Meyer to First Electric Newspaper attorney Mary Gardner Thursday for her successful effort to pry significant parts of a report about Nygren’s exoneration of Undersheriff Andy Zinke’s sharing information coming from the Drug Enforcement Agency about an ongoing probe.

But, that’s probably not all.

“We prevailed on the issue that there was a waiver because Zinke showed it to the Northwest Herald in his capacity as his (Nygren’s) top flunky,” First Electric Newpaper’s Publisher Pete Gonigam said after the decision was rendered.

Gonigam revealed that he will appeal a previous decision of Meyer that “an adjudication is a decision.”

He “ruled that whatever the Sheriff did constituted an adjudication.

“We’re going to appeal that because it makes a mockery of the Freedom of Information Act.”

Such an appeal will delay the payment to Gardner.

The first appeal, which Gardner won, cost the County over $10,000.

It resulted in the release of previously public documents, such as a press release from State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi.

A second appeal appeal by Gonigam would probably result in a counter appeal from the Sheriff’s Office, First Assistant State’s Attorney Norm Vinton said.

Gardner thought that such an appeal could add substantially to legal fees, if she were successful.

“I can’t imagine it’ll be less than $25,000,” she said, noting, “They already lost one appeal.”

“I can only imagine they would appeal the fees,” she continued.

During his explanation of the fee reduction from about $98,000 to $78.000, Judge Meyer said he didn’t want to punish the Sheriff’s Department and mentioned the county not in good financial shape.

While Gardner request she be paid her customary rate of $285 per hour, the rate regular clients compensate her monthly, Meyer knocked it down to $250 per hour.

He denied out-of-pocket costs and court costs, but after Gardner pointed out reimbursement for court filing fees was specified in the statute, Meyer added the $1,062.40.

The Judge did decry the political overtones of the case.

“It was unfortunate that an extraneous political [factor held up the case].”

The politics, he said resulted in a “waste of time.”


Sheriff Nygren’s Campaign Protection of Zinke Costs Taxpayers $78,000 — 13 Comments

  1. Isn’t there some way nygren and zinke could be forced to pay the $78000 ?

    Maybe out of their pensions?

  2. How sad.

    Zinke and Nygren were an absolute disgrace.

    Thank the good Lord these thugs are gone.

    What also is sad is this: No County Board member or local legislator did ANYTHING to stop these dolts on their diabolic plan to destroy people’s lives.

    Shame on you all.

    Thank goodness the “good guys” won.

    Had they not, the travesty would have been unnoticed and the bad guys would still be in power looking to destroy the next group of political enemies.

  3. Seems a bit screwy that someone can violate the law, but have the taxpayers pay for it because they are an elected official. . .

  4. Too bad Gonigam is getting a nice payday with his ex wife from the backs of the taxpayers.

    What did he accomplish anyway?

    Just wrote a bunch of stories for his blog, nothing more really.

  5. Funny, isn’t it?

    How after he obtained the “report”, which was going to show that nothing happened, really, but actually did nothing to sway the resulting election soooooooo badly that he lost by what, 90 votes due to a lazy voter turnout, that after also costing the tax payers money, none of we tax payers have ever seen the report published anywhere to show us what was soooooooooo important that he had to sue.

    Thanks Pete for nothing but expenses.

  6. Cleaning up McHenry County takes one election at a time.

    Be patient, get the facts, and vote; it’s worth the effort.

    Big ones in 2016 – County Chairman, County Board, State Reps, Township Consolidation, and more.

  7. First electric newspaper cost everyone $80,000.

    Pete Gonigam is nothing more than a sham.

  8. First electric newspaper cost everyone $80,000.
    Pete Gonigam is nothing more than a sham.

  9. I know this won’t make any difference to Nygren-wing partisans but: FEN published the summary of the Zinke report (all that’s been obtained yet)immediately upon its receipt on Jan. 15. It’s located here: . In re the comment from “22”, there would have been no cost at all if Nygren had complied with the law and logic and provided a copy of the report his minions had already allowed another reporter to read.

  10. we should all be thanking Gonigam !

    The payout by the County is Zinke’s fault.

    Hopefully he and Kimmy are enjoying themselves , but I really doubt it .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.