McHenry Co. (ECWd) -
Algonquin Township attorneys and the parties involved in a lawsuit regarding record destruction had certain information placed under a Protective Order. The first protective order was explained in this article.
Emails received through a Freedom of Information Act request revealed key information regarding what was happening behind the scenes in this Township.
"Hello Laura and Scott
I have the thumb drive copied of Mr. Lutzow and Provenzano in the Kabota for you. Could my Deputy Clerk deliver this to your office today? I will also forward a list of witnesses from that day as we discussed in our meeting at David Mcardle's office. I appreciate once again you taking the time with this. I am hoping some day justice will be served.
Please let me know when he can deliver the information to you.
Algonquin Township Clerk
Discovery of that communication led to another FOIA. We wanted to see what was on the thumb drive she copied so we requested a copy of that information.
"A copy of the contents of the two flash drives you provided to the States Attorney that contained "Mr. Lutzow and Ryan Provenzano on the Kabota with recycling bins in the back" (two flash drives because we have other emails that make referance to two flash drives of videos)
The Township denied our request claiming they were not in possession of the flash drives and further that the request is denied because the requested videos are subjected to a protective order. We did not ask for the flash drives. We asked for copies of the contents and considering Lukasik confirmed she copied the information onto the flash drive in question, she should have the original. The second reason for the denial is priceless. It confirms the information is subject to a protective order.
So it is clear, James Kelly, one of the very attorneys wanting the protective order, knows this information was provided to the State's Attorney, yet we have not heard a word about that distribution violating the protective order.
Another FOIA to the McHenry County State's Attorney resulted in compliance with the law and production of the videos provided by Karen Lukasik. Upon receipt of the FOIA, which were uploaded to a Dropbox file by the State's Attorney's office, we were able to confirm the videos match exactly what we asked the township for.
Who released information under the protective order?
Karen Lukasik, through her Deputy Clerk, provided a copy of the videos to the State's Attorney, please note the actual e-mail communication. Lukasik's two attorneys, Dave McArdle and Mark Gummerson, were cc'd in the communication outlining this information was going to be provided. That indicates the attorneys had knowledge this information was going to be provided to a third party, assuming they read their email.
Considering the matter was previously discussed with at least one attorney present during a meeting with the investigators as outlined in the email, it appears at least one of Lukasik's attorney's had no problem with the information being released by their client, Karen Lukasik.
While we can not verify if the Deputy Clerk was actually the one that distributed the thumb drive in question to the investigators, Lukasik's email indicates he would be dropping it off to the front window of the State's Attorney's office which means not only was the protected information provided to the State's Attorney, it may have been put in the hands of the Deputy Clerk who is not named on the protective order anymore than the State's Attorney's office.
Looking at the actual paper trail, all indications point to Lukasik releasing and distributing information subject to the protective order. However, it appears the attorneys who actually sought the protective order did nothing to stop its distribution and at least one of them may have been involved in a meeting where the release of that information was discussed.
If Lukasik released this information with the advice and consent of her attorneys, we fault the attorneys. We asked Lukasik if that was the case and have yet to receive a response. If she responds we will update accordingly.
As far as our publication of the information, we were not a party to the violation of the protective order and obtained the information through a legal and proper FOIA request to the McHenry County State's Attorney's office.
As far as the release of information protected under the second protective order, stay tuned.