Detail of What Happened in Court Featuring Revelation of Jack Franks’ Allies Who Sent Mail Smearing Joe Tirio’s Name

One of the GOP Primary Election smear pieces intended to soften Joe Tirio up for the fall campaign against Democratic Party County Clerk candidate Andrew Giorgi.

Susan Handelsman was in the courtroom taking notes Friday at the trial in which McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio was seeking to discover who was responsible for the numerous hit pieces aimed at ruining his reputation.

This morning she wrote them up and posted them as comments under the story, “Jack Franks’ 2000 Campaign Manager Revealed as Researcher for Joe Tirio Smear Pieces.”

Here is what she saw:

As the 4 hour hearing progressed, atty [Natalie] Harris and a partner at her firm who also attended hearing made offers meant to forestall contempt ruling.

She first told the court that she now also represented IIF [Illinois Integrity Fund], and that she would vouch for that client being a known person or persons.

(Later the judge cautioned defendant Breaker Press that he should consider obtaining independent counsel, due to potential conflicts of interest.)

Judge rejected argument that this would preserve plaintiff rights to toll statute of limitations.

Next, Harris offered a tolling agreement signed by her firm on behalf of John Doe IIF.

Tirio attorney rejected offer, stating that unknown defendants could change counsel, disagree amongst themselves, or claim any number of arguments to invalidate such a contract.

Judge also rejected Harris’ repeated arguments that waiting for an appellate court ruling would not harm the plaintiff (appeals as to the defamation per se leading to the court order to reveal IIF identification, and subsequent contempt ruling) (which would not possibly arrive until after the presumed deadline for filing defamation suit).

Next offer by defendants’ and now attorney of record for john doe IIF was that she would give the court the names and addresses in camera, not to be revealed until appeals court ruling.

Later, an offer to reveal the names to plaintiff attorney, but he could not reveal names nor begin discovery until after appeals ran.

Offers were rejected, and judge was set to rule on contempt of court.

Attorney Harris then offered an affidavit by Janice Dalton in order to purge her contempt status.

Janice Dalton affidavit stated she had no knowledge of who created the mailers or paid for their creation and mailing.

She took the stand and under oath repeated those claims.

Dalton stated that her friend Marita Buss gave her the mailer, and that was how Dalton robocalls contained language closely matching that on the mailers.

She stated that she had no contact with anyone involved with the mailers in context of creating or disseminating her robocalls.

She was then dismissed as a defendant by the judge.

Finally the remaining defendant on contempt of court charge was found guilty of indirect contempt and before penalties were declared he apologized to the court.

Judge sentenced President of Breaker Press [Richard Lewandowski] to be incarcerated until he cured the contempt of court by complying with court order to reveal identities of those who designed and paid for the defamatory mailers.

The judge stayed his own sentence until December 28, after Christmas.

After a recess, attorney Harris declared that defendant was ready to cure contempt and name the John Does.

He named

  • Michael Noonan, Roosevelt Group
    328 S. Jefferson, Chicago, and
  • Sean Tenner, KNI Communications

    Jack Franks

    4807 N. Broadway, Chicago

Plaintiff attorney [Phil Prossnitz] questioned defendant about contact with any other parties (than those named) in relation to creation, payment for defamatory mailers.

He stated that he heard from someone that Jack Franks may have had something to do with it.

Attorney Harris objected that was hearsay and judge sustained objection.


Detail of What Happened in Court Featuring Revelation of Jack Franks’ Allies Who Sent Mail Smearing Joe Tirio’s Name — 18 Comments

  1. Can’t wait for the NW Herald to ask Democratic officials in McHenry County what they think about this.

  2. It’s kind of interesting that Harris would object to Jack Franks’ name being mentioned.

    That’s almost a tacit admission that she is representing him in this case.

  3. Jack ‘Skank’ Franks, a real bottom feeder.

    I’ve watched this rat pollute the area for years with his liberal spore.

    He must be outed for what he is: A TOTAL CULTURAL ALIEN

  4. Just read this in the Chicago Trib:

    Facing a choice between going to jail or revealing who was behind the “Crooked Joe” campaign flyers that his company printed, a Chicago businessman revealed in court Friday that two Democratic political consultants funded the mudslinging mailers that targeted a Republican primary candidate in McHenry County.

    Then the president of Breaker Press Co. mentioned a third name that he said he “had reason to believe” was involved with the smear campaign, eliciting gasps from courtroom onlookers: Democratic County Board Chairman Jack Franks.

    The other two people identified as arranging for the flyers were political consultant Michael Noonan, a former aide for Mike Madigan and campaign manager for Lisa Madigan, and Sean Tenner, who has worked for Barack Obama and Lisa Madigan campaigns.

    Neither Franks, Noonan nor Tenner could immediately be reached.

    The series of full-color flyers, sent by bulk mail in this year’s Republican primary election for county clerk, portrayed candidate Joe Tirio as “Crooked Joe,” saying he hired his cronies and operated a slush fund as county recorder and was part of a “fringe element of dangerous extremists” who weren’t “Donald Trump Republicans” but “David Duke” Republicans.

    One flyer accused Tirio of “destroying the GOP with Chicago style sleaze” — an interesting claim given that now it appears that the flyers were arranged by Chicago political operatives with deep ties to the Democratic Party.

    The mailers were said to paid for by the “Illinois Integrity Fund,” but no other evidence of such an organization could be found. Tirio went to court seeking to unmask the people behind the smear campaign, but lawyers for his primary opponent Janice Dalton and Breaker Press, which printed the flyers, fought in court against revealing the names. On the stand Friday, Dalton said she didn’t know who was behind the flyers — though she used similar language in campaign robo-calls — and was dismissed from the suit.

    But as for Breaker Press President Richard Lewandowski, McHenry County Associate Judge Kevin Costello warned him Friday that he would be held in contempt of court and ordered to jail next week if he did not comply with the court order, which his lawyers at first defied.

    They had argued in part that the speech was protected by the First Amendment and that the mailers didn’t libel Tirio because their claims against him were too vague. They also asked for time to appeal the judge’s order.

    Lewandowski continued to resist providing the names, apologizing to the judge but saying that, as a businessman, he felt conflicted. After much back and forth between lawyers and the judge, Lewandowski eventually revealed that Noonan and Tenner orchestrated the mailing.

    Then, as Lewandowski stood before Costello, Tirio’s attorney Phil Prossnitz asked him if anyone else was involved in orchestrating the mailing. After some hesitation, Lewandowski said, “I have reason to believe Jack Franks was involved.”

  5. Here’s my latest quatrain, in honor of the start of our jabbering “Jackal’s” political collapse, leading to his long-overdue, but ultimate, political obliteration.

    “Turn on the Lights to Expose the Vermin: How Jack Franks Began His Fall from Grace”


    “The Tirio Trio of Victims (Tirio, Ersel and Orville) Avenged”

    Scratch a liar — find a thief!
    Before the scab is set,
    The friendship is but very brief,
    Before whatever they can get!

    Old Jacko Franks used his ‘charms’ & pow’r,
    To set a devilish mail-bomb scam.
    Hatched to make his opponents hide & cower,
    Abusing the US mails for his vile voter-sham!

    When Jacko’s loathsome lies did harm Orv & Ersel,
    He pranced triumphantly before his minyan o’ minions!
    But his base pride led to his political reversal,
    When Jacko likewise targeted Tirio, using Fred’s* millions.

    Thus began the diseased cat’s clawing out of its sick-bag,
    When Judge Costello ordered “the fixer’s ID.”
    But Dalton refused to play the crooked, blamable hag,
    And Breaker Press’ Harris’ “Not I!” cried she.

    So who was the malefic spider who spun all the lies?
    Tis obscured for now, but if Prossnitz be true …
    Off will come the cunning disguise,
    And Jackanapes Franks will be found in the stew.

    Jack Skank-Franks lorded over his County Masked Ball,
    -But Jacko’s corruption caused his Great Fall!
    All of Fred Eychaner’s horses, and all of his ‘men’
    Couldn’t glue Jacko back together again!

    For the sick dirty tricks Jack so labored to hide,
    Were exposed to all, uncovering his true self:
    Which was hideous, sleazy and oh, so “Jekyll & Hyde,”
    The courtroom exposé tossed his whole career on the shelf!

    *Perverse Gay Agendaist and Franks’ ‘special projects’ Evil Bankroller, Chicago’s mini-Soros, FRED EYCHANER:

  6. Jack Franks is a fellow who went astray in many ways: politically, morally, logically.

    Can he repent and be rehabbed? I sincerely doubt it, but I do hope for it.

    And when Franks’ leading role in the libelous ‘anti-crusade’ against Tirio, Brettmann and Shuster finally gets exposed, he can no longer play his tiresome role of ‘perpetual victim.’

    I have always wondered about Franks’ ethics.

    Years ago, I heard him say that the convicted murderers Leopold and Loeb, defended by Clarence Darrow, didn’t get a fair trial in Illinois because the jury was antisemitic and Leopold and Loeb were both Jewish college graduates and sons of very wealthy fathers.

    I always thought that was very strange ‘take’ on the once-sensational, but now forgotten murder case.

    Especially since the young murder victim was also Jewish and was even named Franks! (the victim was even related by blood to Loeb!)

    Despite the fact that both Leopold and Loeb gave detailed confessions, eye witnesses to their attempts to hide evidence, and one of the killers even left his eyeglasses at the crime scene, Darrow went with a jury, but then negotiated his clients’ plea changes to guilty midway through the trial in order to succeed in getting the judge to give the culprits life in prison instead of the death penalty.

    Years went by, and I thought Franks’ comments weird, but then this dawned on me during this Tirio mailing case:

    Leopold and Loeb were, like Franks (our Franks, not Bobby Franks, the murdered youth) highly intelligent, but spoiled rich brats who never worked a day in their lives and had super-indulgent parents.

    And they were also ardent followers of the Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, and actually believed they themselves were Nietzschean supermen, vastly superior humans, far beyond ordinary moral laws or criminal codes.

    No wonder Franks ‘sided’ with the convicted killers.

    Even though they killed a Franks!

  7. **That’s almost a tacit admission that she is representing him in this case.**

    No. It’s an explicit admission that hearsay isn’t appropriate in a courtroom.

  8. Cal needs to publish all of the quatrains and poems in book form.

  9. Should the judge look into the proposition that the U.S. Mail was used to send out the flyers?

    Are there laws about that?

  10. Hearsay is admissible in some rare circumstances, but it really shouldn’t have been an issue for Ms Harris in this instance unless she was looking out for interests of a client.

  11. Tirio, Prossnitz, and Costello are my new local hero’s.

    Well I was familiar with Tirio’s Voters In Action watchdog group but was unfamiliar with Phil Prosnitz til now.

    Hoping this dynamic duo take this to the next level as Judge Costello already deemed this defamatory!

  12. The chicago lawyer really showed her hand when she got all flustered and objected to prosnitz question to owner of Breaker Press: “who’s paying you?”

    She did everything but cover his mouth!

    You could see she thought Prossnitz was asking ‘who’s paying you to keep quiet?’

    Prosnitz was referring to ‘who paid for the printing of the defamatory flyers?’

    That WAS the DEAL that he would reveal that answer once he decided to purge.

    But seeing her fly off the handle in rush to shut him up was really telling!

    Prosnitz was great.

    Cool calm confident respectful and patient.

    He was rewarded for his professionalism.

  13. Hearsay like this is going to be admissible in depositions.

    They are going to be able to ask what information he had to form his impression that Franks was involved, who told him what, where, when and in what words.

    Then they can go to that person and depose them, etc. etc.

    The breadcrumbs then lead back to Franks?

    Just like with Trump.

    And like Trump, there are probably violations of campaign financing laws.

    I believe all of the mailers were sent out under the name of the IIF.

    If a campaign organization or candidate goes over $5K they have to file a report.

    One county wide mailer even limited to likely R primary voters, is going to cost more than that.

    There were more than 50K voters in the GOP primary in 2016.

    That is at least 20K households.

    At 50 cents per mailer, which includes printing and postage but not design work, you are at $10K right there.

    Then there was a District 6 mailer plus maybe more than one Tirio mailer.

    It was revealed that Franks paid these two guys over $18K for non specified work right after the primary.

    This would be around the figure you would expect all of those mailers to have cost.

    So now you have campaign finance fraud.

    Also possible mail fraud and money laundering, which are potentially criminal.

    Since the mailers were sent into McHenry County, our States Attorney might have jurisdiction to investigate.

    That was the position he took with the forgeries on the Reinardt petitions, even though the forgeries took place in Cook County. (However he has never prosecuted anyone for that to date).

    Also the new Attorney General could certainly do something.

    If someone were to file a campaign finance complaint with the State Board of Elections they would have to hold a hearing.

    Franks’ lackeys showed no hesitation in filing campaign finance complaints on various GOP candidates for minor slip ups, often not appearing for the hearings.

    Will Tirio or someone else follow up with this?

    Follow the money…………………..

  14. Unfortunately, ‘following up” is extremely expensive. Oceans of money available to the political class can be spent to ‘deny, delay, and bury ’em in legal fees’ when reformers like Tirio try to defend their own good names.

    “In March, the Northwest Herald asked Franks whether he knew anything about the Illinois Integrity Fund. He said he did not, but he commended its mailers. “It’s refreshing,” Franks said, “to see someone push back against an entrenched, entitled group that’s done a pretty poor job for a really long time.” ”

    This quote illustrates exquisite political sophistry.

    There is an entrenched, entitled group doing a poor job.

    But the subjects of the defamatory mailers were a minority group of outsiders trying to fight the actions of the entrenched, entitled group.

    This anti-corruption posture was the common thread between the targets of IIF.

    One specific example of this commonality was participation in an effort to prevent the County Board Chair hiring of 2 alleged patronage workers to newly created, unnecessary County posts in contravention of County Code and Salary Administration Policy.

    Political sophistry employs generalities.

    Call someone a bigot or thief on a postcard and the damage is done, a political opponent is discredited.

    Defamed parties aren’t allowed fair scrutiny of specifics behind such defamatory labels, except through judicial review.

    Or, through objective and diligent journalistic investigations.

    This case presents an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans who are trying to oppose political
    ‘business as usual’ to draw public attention to methods employed against reformers by the monied political class.

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