McHenry Co., IL. (ECWd) –
As reported by The Patch (link here):
Online Newspaper Wins FOIA Judgment Against McHenry County Sheriff
First Electric News publisher Pete Gonigam awarded $80,000 by McHenry County judge.
Publisher Pete Gonigam wanted a copy of a report former Sheriff Keith Nygren used to clear his undersheriff of wrongdoing in the disclosure of a secret DEA investigation to a campaign supporter.
Judge Thomas Meyer also penalized the sheriff last month for violation of the Freedom of Information Act, reports the Northwest Herald, ordering him to pay that sum to Gonigam.
First Electric Newspaper, which covers Algonquin, Lake in the Hills and Huntley, reported the news on its website:
“This case wouldn’t have cost nearly so much if the judge hadn’t decided Nygren could have an ‘adjudication’ all by himself to exempt the report from disclosure,” said FEN publisher Pete Gonigam in an autointerview. Meyer only ruled the Sheriff’s Office had to turn over the investigation of then-Undersheriff Andy Zinke’s outing a DEA investigation to a campaign supporter after FEN proved Zinke let a Northwest Herald reporter read it before FEN ever asked for it.
Separately, Deputy Administrator Scott Hartman emailed FEN Wednesday that McHenry County was ready to pay the $5,000 fine Meyer levied against the Sheriff’s Office last month for “willfully” withholding the report. Said Gonigam, “That’ll help finance the appeal to close… continue reading…