McHenry Co. (ECWd) -
Trustee Lawrence took to social media and listed numerous questions pertaining to this article we published. She claims to have only skimmed over the article and has a lot more questions than answers. We will do our best to address these questions and even include links to articles that contain the answers in many cases.
1) Why is the video sped up at points and then slow-motion in other parts?
As reported in the very article in question, other than blocking out the minor child’s face, we have not edited this video. We received the video from the McHenry County State's Attorney's office who uploaded the actual video file to a Dropbox folder. Why it would be sped up and then slow-motion is a question that may be best answered through a chain of custody investigation of the material provided to third parties under a protective order. Let's see the videos that were uploaded to the cloud? If those have the same issue, then it would indicate a problem with the camera. If not, let's look at the flash drives Lukasik provided to the State's Attorney? Were those edited? We made our statement about editing in the article because we too noticed the problems with the video. I suggest the Township provide the link to the Cloud location of this video considering it has already been released by a public official.
2) Why/how would the video and sound not be synchronized?
I read this as a deceptive question because it appears only part of the video and sound are not in sync. See response to #1 as it relates to why and how those portions would not be in sync.
3) Who installed this camera that records audio, when the only notice on property states video, and under whose direction/authority?
Considering Lawrence was a trustee who approved the bill for the expenditure one would think key questions would have been asked during the audit phase of the bill paying. Regardless, the court transcripts point to the Supervisor having the authority to install them according to James Kelly, (see page 10). As to who actually did the installation, there has been no record of that to date that we have found.
3) Who has had possession of this and "30 more" videos for the past two years, and why is this the first we've seen of them? (she used #3 twice)
We do not believe the attorney's in the case had possession of the videos based on comments in the transcript. (See bottom of page 4 and top of page 5 of transcripts). It appears, Lukasik is the only one that had copies of them and as outlined in this article and this article, she distributed them to the State's Attorney. As far as this being the first "we've" seen of them, there could be several reasons. One, in particular, is they were under a protective order. Another because they appear to have been provided to support an allegation of a crime that made it part of a criminal investigative matter. Lastly, we published them to educate the public as to what was really taking place in Algonquin Township which is a key part of our mission. One can only wonder why we are the ones publishing this information vs. local media. One thing we can make crystal clear if we would have obtained them sooner from any source we would have published them.
4) Did Provenzano lie when he told the Supervisor and Attorney that no other video recordings existed?
We mentioned there were numerous videos but the record points to only one video from the Nest Camera. All the others are from the primary security system of the Township. Not knowing the actual question asked of Provenzano or his answer, we can't speak to that. We can only speak to the record which reflects there was only one video on the Nest Camera and over 30 from the Township's primary security system. (See page 67 of 73)
5) From whom were these videos "obtained legally," and what motive would someone have to not answer that question?
As outlined in the links above, they were obtained from the Mchenry County State's Attorney's office. There were several reasons for not answering that question at the time. Considering we had already drafted articles that would present all the information in detail, we chose not to share certain things initially but did disclose that it would be shared.
6) Is it ethical to post any tape including a child's body and voice, even if the "face" is censored?
Considering Lukasik named her child in court records, along with her husband, the recording is a public record of a public official performing a public function, captured on a publicly paid for camera as part of a claimed security system within a public building, the answer is yes. In fact, the record we obtained could have been published as was without blocking the child's face. We chose to block it as there was no reason to publish the child's image and we understood that to be Lukasik's concern, having her son on the internet. Our work was not about the child so the ethical thing to do in our opinion was to block out his image. As far as blocking him out entirely, there was no need to go to that level of editing. If we had not edited it at all the question would have been why didn't we block out his face. Block the face and then it's the question presented.
7) The bloggers state "Our concern is that the chain of custody of public records has been broken if a person other than a public official is the one providing them to the authorities." Based on your own statement (inaccurately stating that Mr. Lukasik is "taking" records), how does that apply to this very video, considering you say it did not come directly from a Township FOIA? Or DID it come from an official (Andrew Gasser)?
We did not inaccurately state what is alleged. We stated what Karen Lukasik said in the video. As far as the chain of custody, this is a great question. As far as the video we published, we fully disclosed the chain of custody based on our FOIA request. As we clearly publish on our web site, we are not responsible for documentation from government entities and other public sources which may be incomplete and/or inaccurate. We published what we received.
However, we do believe the chain of custody matter should be acted on by the parties to the protective order as it is clear from the record, Lukasik provided information under the protective order to a third party and all indications point to her attorney having knowledge of the matter, of course assuming he read his client's emails to him.
To answer her second question in #7, no, the video we published did not come from Andrew Gasser.
Now for the Concerns, Lawrence raised in the same social media post.
1) What is the motive of the person who:
a) installed these cameras
b) provided the audio and video
c) wrote blog entries about it
2) How does this audio and video benefit the public? Or, does it benefit or harm a person politically or personally, instead?
3) Why block out only the child's face and not his body and voice?
4) Does the sharing of this video (and, if true, others) with these bloggers, along with their subsequent "publication" rise to a cause of action against the Township and violate individuals' rights?
5) If so, who is one person who would want to see the Township destroyed by any means necessary, even if via lawsuits?
1 a) court records point to them being installed as a possible means of capturing record destruction or theft of records on video. Other than that we have no idea if that is true or not or if there was some other motive.
b) The motive behind the State's Attorney's office, the entity that provided the video, we can only assume was compliance with the FOI Act. Now that Trustee Lawrence has the source of the video she should ask them directly.
c) Our motive and agenda is clear and documented in our corporate filings with the IRS. To inform the public as to what is really happening in their local government. Doing so engages the public and brings light to matters of public concern. This is proven time and time again, just as it is with these questions. Clearly, there is an interest to what took place at the Township when a Trustee who approved the payment for the cameras in question is asking questions.
2. It informs the public about the events taking place in their local government. We published true factual information. If that information benefits or harms a person politically or personally that is on them as it was their actions that were recorded. If there is a belief that the audio and video does not benefit the public, maybe Trustee Lawernce could explain why the Board approved the bill for the purchase of cameras that record audio and video? If the position is this information has no public benefit, are we to understand this purchase was made and payment approved for items that have no public purpose?
3. See response to number 6 above.
4. This is a question that predeposed a position that an indiviudals rights have been vioalted but fails to disclose what rights they are talking about. If there is an actual violation, those who should be concerned are those parties to the protective order that released the information in our opinion as well as several attorneys. As far as our publication, we obtained public records under the Freedom of Information Act and are free to publish that information to the world. If Trustee Lawrence has concerns over the Township possibly being in the line of fire of a cause of action, we suggest she ask the Township Attorney.
5. We have no idea who this "one person" may be that wants the Township destroyed. We have not spoken with anyone that wants anything destroyed, let alone a Township. All that aside, how on earth would a lawsuit destroy a township? We understand it may place a financial strain on it but history points to public officials simply raising taxes to cure their screw-ups.