At least they’re predictable!
My wife says I’m psychic (not psychotic), but it didn’t take any prescient possibilities to predict that the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office would refuse to respond to my sexual harassment FOIA request in any meaningful manner.
Unless, of course, by “meaningful manner” you mean providing 292 completely redacted pages, and by “redacted,” I mean just about 292 grayed out pages. Well…that’s not totally true…they did include page numbers.
I’d say, “talk about flipping a journalist the bird,” but they did the same thing to the Tribune.
The legal “logic” they applied to hide 292 pages of complaints against Prosecutor McGropey makes Donald Trump’s mendacious problems pale in comparison. But what do you expect from Civil Division head, Joe Lulves, who regularly brags that his office is “immune to FOIA requests.”
Meanwhile, one of my attorneys reviewed their non-response and called it complete BS. So, since the local papers don’t have the horses or money to truly tackle this, here’s what I’m up against:
1. I will appeal the denial to the Public Access Counselor arm of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. Given past successes, the PAC tends to get back to me faster, but the process can still take up to six weeks.
2. I will win the appeal, but since the PAC’s FOIA rulings aren’t binding – there’s no penalty for failing to comply – I will have to get a judge to enforce their ruling.
3. Since no Kane County judge will hear a case involving the KCSAO and Jeff Ward, we’ll have move to have it moved to DeKalb County or some other venue.
4. The odds of a “regular” associate or full circuit judge ruling for a journalist and against a State’s Attorney’s office aren’t very good. That means I’ll probably have to take it to the Second District Court of Appeals, and now you’re talking real time and money.
5. Despite prevailing in the appellate court, the KCSAO will simply appeal that ruling to tie up the documents’ release for as long as possible.
By that time, with the bloom clearly off his rose, State’s Attorney Joe McMahon will have moved on to some other endeavor or back into private practice.
The only advantage I have is a crack legal team who supports what I do. And they’re more than a match for the likes of Joe Lulves, whose legal skill never set any courtroom on fire.
Despite their denial, we know there are up to 292 pages of complaints against our terminated prosecutor, who somehow managed to survive at the State’s Attorney’s office from at least 2012 to 2018.
This scenario reminds me of Lily Tomlin’s “Earnestine” telephone operator character, whose tagline was, “We’re the phone company, we don’t have to care!” All we have to do to change that to, “We’re the KCSAO – the law doesn’t apply to us,” and we’re good.
Vote for Mark Guethle (and Kristina Zahorik)
As previously noted, we actually have an interesting Democratic Kane County primary ballot this round that includes some real choices. But just as it is with our judicial candidates, there are some down-the-ticket races that tend to be ignored.
To wit, 14th District State Central Committeeman Mark Guethle is currently facing a challenger, as is incumbent 14th District Committeewoman Kristina Zahorik.
State central committeemen and committeewomen elect the party leaders and set the Illinois Democratic Party platform. They don’t get paid for a gig that can turn out to be rather time consuming, either.
Mark also happens to be our Kane County Democratic Chairman with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working on several campaigns and other issues. So, I can unequivocally say that no one does a better job of herding cats than he does.
Make no mistake, whether you’re a township, county or state party chairman, the term “herding cats” is a massive understatement. If you’ve ever tried to keep a gaggle of egotistical, self-centered and bullheaded candidates and politicians in line, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
And it’s especially difficult in Kane County where you have three separate Democratic strongholds with three sometime separate agendas – Aurora, Elgin and Carpentersville.
But Mark does a good job of managing that mess, trying to get good candidates to run and get elected, and frequently playing referee between rival party factions. Put more simply, you couldn’t pay me to do that job that doesn’t pay anything.
So, as you make your way down that March 20 Democratic ballot, be sure to check off Mark Guethle’s and Kristina Zahorik’s name. You won’t be disappointed.
A Geneva bright spot!
As most of you know, I’m kinda down on my current hometown. It’s that ongoing Geneva Police harassment, a mayor with the morals of a rutting pig, and a new city council that never met a tax increase, fee hike, or expenditure they didn’t like.
But there is something for Genevans to celebrate!
Our Geneva High School girls basketball team just captured their second straight Class 4A title. Despite trailing for most of the game, the Vikings squeaked by Montini in a 28 – 26 defensive nail biter in Normal’s Redbird Arena.
Also, for the second straight year, 5-foot-8 GHS senior Stephanie Hart knocked down the winning shot with less than five seconds on the clock.
Repeating a championship season isn’t easy in any sport at any level, but it’s particularly tough in high school athletics because the team chemistry changes every single year, star players move on to college, other teams add new talent, and everyone’s gunning for you.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention that senior guard Margaret Whitley won the Queen of the Hill Three-point Showdown before the big game. My long-time readers will recall that I wrote a column on the Whitley family’s propensity to produce all-star athletes when I toiled for the Sun-Time suburban papers.
My theory was – and still is – if they’d only adopt me, I’d finally win a 5k. Sadly, they have yet to sign the paperwork. C’mon! I could be the 59 year-old son they never had! (Or probably never wanted to have.)
So, here’s to these persistent and talented Viking women who gave this curmudgeonly columnist a reason to smile about the city of Geneva! Does Pat Riley still hold the copyright on “Three-peat?”