Caught in a bad bromance?
I wuz gonna focus solely on my ongoing FOIA issues today, but I just couldn’t pass this one up.
In an effort to prove there are journalistic depths to which they haven’t begun to descend, today’s (5/4) Aurora Beacon-News page two column describes how “bromances” are destroying romantic relationships between men and women.
For those of you who correctly tend to avoid this kind of insipid BS, a bromance is a non-sexual, emotionally intimate relationship between two or more middle-age men, typically revolving around some sort of shared leisure time activity.
First, I had no idea this was a problem. Who knew bromances were going to bring about the downfall of Western Civilization? By the end of the piece I was desperately hoping the author was making a ham-handed attempt at satire, but he clearly was not.
And second, I had no idea that everything in Aurora was so copacetic that bromances somehow rose to the top of the newsfeed. C’mon! The Beacon-News doesn’t print any news as it is and now they’re running this kind of absurdity?
To make matters worse, it’s not a very well-written piece, either. I would encourage the columnist to consider that good writing always requires a reasonable cadence and flow.
I suppose there’s a bright side to this fascinating and swift journalistic descent. Suddenly Beacon-News “columnist” Denise Crosby doesn’t seem so bad!
FOIA-gate part one
So! Four long days after the response was due, Joe McMahon, the State’s Attorney himself, finally answered my dire entreaties in regard to actually abiding by the FOIA statute. That’s a clear sign that he’s none too happy with Civil Division chief Joe Lulves, who was simply the messenger this time.
Basically, McMahon used the “dog ate my homework” rationalization, which ain’t gonna fly.
He said I “implied” that I made an April 16 FOIA request in my subsequent emails to him, despite the fact I included the entire FOIA request in those emails. I suppose it’s a very nice way of calling me a liar.
Then McMahon said he didn’t respond right away because I sent those follow ups to his personal email address. That is absolutely true! But the reason I did that is the State’s Attorney technically doesn’t have a county email address. It got so bombarded with electronic missives that he basically shut it down.
Lastly, the State’s Attorney claimed that, though there’s been no prior problem with sending FOIA requests directly to Joe Lulves, that I should be using another email address entirely. Nothing like waiting till the sixth FOIA request to tell me that.
So, I ran this scenario past two of my favorite former managing editors and they agreed with my theory that, fed up with me running the sexual harassment complaint verbatim, Lulves decided to ignore the FOIA just to see what I’d do.
Whenever I’ve approached any government entity in regards to a tardy FOIA response – a rarity – they’ve fallen all over themselves to correct the situation. Meanwhile, the KCSAO took four days just to acknowledge the problem.
I also want to thank the Attorney General’s Office for bringing their formidable resources to bear in record time. The FOIA response finally came on Tuesday, May 1.
FOIA-gate part two
For those of you who’ve been following along, there was, indeed, a settlement and accord between our second groped former female prosecutor and the KCSAO. But before you get too excited, two week’s severance ($2,200) and a letter of recommendation ain’t nearly enough to make the folks write home.
The typical non-disparagement clause was applied to both sides as well.
The truth is, that deal was more likely based on the prosecutor’s father’s capacity to raise money for McMahon’s reelection bid, and another situation that has no impact on this story, so we won’t go into it.
But what bothers me is, in the same response, the KCSAO told me they have no such agreement with the eminently litigious Prosecutor McGropy. Reports say he got eight weeks (11 grand) severance, and there’s no way they’d dole out that kind of cash without some sort of parting paperwork.
So now it’s on to FOIAing the Treasurer’s office for that lump sum payment.
FOIA-gate part three
To semi-sew up absolutely all those loose FOIA ends, the Attorney General appeal of the 292 blank pages of sexual harassment complaints against Prosecutor McGropy is in! And the good news is the Attorney General’s Office is already a bit miffed at the KCSAO for ignoring my last FOIA request.
Essentially, what Lulves tried to do was bog me down in so many FOIA exemptions – two full pages of them – that it required quite an effort to effectively respond. But this is a case where I really have to thank Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham for insisting I become abundantly familiar with all of the applicable statutes.
To wit, a number of the exemptions Lulves cited only apply to state, and not county, employees. So much for his legal skills.
I also want to thank a brilliant Kane County attorney for catching that fact, something the rest of us semi-brilliant folks missed!
All I can say is, the fat lady hasn’t nearly sung on this one. I’ll keep you posted!