County Ready to Settle Nygren Freedom of Information Suit re Zinke Report with First Electric Newspaper – $104,000 in Legal Fees

Pete Gonigan and his attorney Mary Gardner

Pete Gonigam and his attorney Mary Gardner

Pete Gonigam, Publisher of the First Electric Newspaper, sued McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nyrgen when the former top cop refused to release the report about an investigation of his Chief Deputy and chosen replacement Andy Zinke.

Mary Gardner was Gonigam’s attorney who sued after Nygren neglected to follow the non-binding recommendation of the Public Access Division of the Illinois Attorney General.

Here’s what the County Board will see:

Board / Committee Action Requested. Consideration of a resolution approving the settlement of the pending litigation, John Peter Gonigam, individually, and The First Electric Newspaper, LLC, an Illinois limited liability corporation v. Office of the Sheriff of McHenry County, Case number 13MR309 and authorization for the County to enter into a Settlement Agreement and Release is requested.

Keith Nygren

Keith Nygren

Andy Zinke

Andy Zinke

Background and Discussion:  This proposed settlement agreement will release and discharge pending litigation against the County and MCSO stemming from an alleged violation of the Freedom of Information Act.  This settlement agreement is not an admission of any liability or of unconstitutional or illegal conduct or violation of the FOIA by or on the part of the defendant.  Rather, it is an acknowledgment of respective positions and a compromise to avoid further expense in connection with this suit and subsequent appeals.

Impact on Budget (Revenue; Expenses, Fringe Benefits):  Since this matter is in connection with an alleged FOIA violation, the settlement, totaling $104,402.96, will be payable through the  McHenry County General Fund OCA 900020-4570 (Non-departmental – Contingency).  This is in addition to the previous civil penalty payment of $5,000 which was paid pursuant to a May 12, 2015 Court Order. [Emphasis added.]

Conformity to Board Ordinances, Policies and Strategic Plan…This settlement does conform to Board policies and authorizations.

The money will paid out of the contingency account of the County’s General Fund.

In July, the legal fees would have been $78,000.  At the time, Gardner estimated an appeal of part of Judge Thomas Meyer’s decision would cost another $25,000 in legal fees.


County Ready to Settle Nygren Freedom of Information Suit re Zinke Report with First Electric Newspaper – $104,000 in Legal Fees — 14 Comments

  1. Since the team of Nygren Zinke caused this expensive problem
    and I have to assume that both men are receiving county pensions
    then wouldn’t it only be fair that this money be deducted from their pension checks
    and I also wonder…how much are they receiving or how much are they scheduled to receive

  2. Voters need to remember who supported Nygren / Zinke in 2014 when they peruse the 2016 candidate list.

  3. Count Regna as one of the strong supporters of Nygren for years and supported Zinke.

  4. This episode highlights a basic flaw in FOIA.

    Do you think for one moment that any politician cares what the government pays when they violate FOIA, as long as they get away with not revealing unflattering information until the election is over?

    Justice delayed is justice denied.

  5. As the corruption continues unabated in the Land Of Lincoln,
    financed by its beleaguered taxpayers.

    Up next: Rahm E. & the CPD.

    I pray for the day when I can finally see Illinois in my rear view mirror.

  6. Thank you Pete for wasting the taxpayers money in pursuit of nothing


    Nygren and the “good ole boys” have no regard for the tax payer.

    Think they can do whatever they want.

    Squash people like grapes.

    Laugh because the stupid taxpayers that vote for them just have to pay up. You stood up for what was right.

    I am glad to have my tax money go towards their exposure.

  8. Has anyone heard of what is going on with Zinke’s wife, Kim ?

    Is she still getting paid to stay home ?

  9. Hopefully he publishes the entire thing when he gets it so we can see exactly what he wasted the taxpayers money to see-he appears to be the ONLY one who actually cares what’s in the “report” that fails to extract ANY criminal or federal offenses of ANY kind, DEA,FBI, our own State’s Attorney,etc.

    Absolutly NOTHING has come of this terrible report and “cover-up”, and nothing ever will, since there’s nothing there to see.

  10. Gonigam finally found a way to put some money in his pocket which is very empty.

  11. AZSupportor, how ass backwards you’re being!

    Instead of being angry that an elected official stopped a FOIA request costing the taxpayers to lose in a lawsuit, you’re angry at the press for doing exactly what they should be doing?

    It figures why you were a Zinke Supporter.

  12. What a waste of taxpayer money that whole witch hunt was.

    Not surprised to see the payoff/settlement from the current politico’s to one whose actions buttressed their cause.

    Kind of how Government works around here now.

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