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Sheriff Opts for Belligerence to Thwart FEN’s Attempt to Secure Undersheriff Andrew Zinke Report

Submitted by on Wednesday, 19 February 2014No Comment
Undersheriff Andrew Zinke and the Rita Corporation on RT 31

Undersheriff Andrew Zinke and the Rita Corporation on RT 31

This is a story that has been going on for over a year now. It is a comment on what Sheriff Keith Nygren feels about inviting transparency for the public into his sheriff’s department. Keith will have none of that and we all should be good with his explanation of nothing to see here, just move along. It is also a comment of bucking systems, wasting time, and wasting tax dollars; something that the Sheriff has done many times in the past.

In October of 2012, the former McHenry County Sheriff’s Department Narcotics Chief John Koziol asked for a Special Prosecutor to investigate Undersheriff Andrew Zinke. Koziol wanted Zinke investigated for tipping off Brian Goode that the DEA was investigating tons of marijuana drug shipments to his RITA Corporation in Crystal Lake. Brian Goode had provided a $5,000 contribution to Andrew Zinke’s campaign for McHenry County Sheriff after he was given the tip. The same address for the RITA Corporation that was being investigated is the same address that Undersheriff Andrew Zinke gives as his campaign headquarters. Koziol was denied the Special Prosecutor. Sheriff Keith Nygren had told the Northwest Herald that “There hasn’t been any violation of any departmental rule or regulation.”

Deputy John Koziol

Deputy John Koziol

In January of 2013, Pete Gonigam of the First Electric Newspaper or FEN filed a FOIA Request (Freedom of Information Act) for a report that summarized the investigation of Andrew Zinke of any wrongdoing when he tipped off his friend Brian Goode. Gonigam was denied this request by the McHenry County Sheriff’s office, so he had to file an appeal. Pete Gonigam filed his appeal with the Public Access Bureau or PAB, in the Illinois Attorney General’s office. The PAB reviewed the appeal and ordered the sheriff’s office to release it. Sheriff Keith Nygren refused to follow the instructions that he was given by the PAB to release the report. FEN continued to email and call the McHenry County Sheriff’s office for the report for about 30 days before filing suit.

  1. On June 18th, 2013 FEN filed a lawsuit to compel the sheriff’s office to comply with the PAB Ruling. “This isn’t about who should be the next Sheriff,” said FEN Publisher Pete Gonigam in an article on his website.  “It’s not a reporter’s job to care about that.  This is about whether the Sheriff right now can ignore the law.” This is where the dysfunction, belligerence, and loss of McHenry county citizen’s tax dollar at the hand of the McHenry County Sheriff’s office begins.
  2. On July 10th, 2013 the case started and so did the games. Sheriff Keith Nygren, Equal Employment Opportunity Officer Donald Leist started requesting that Judge Thomas Meyer to appoint a Special Assistant State’s Attorney to defend them and the sheriff’s office. Claiming that the States Attorney’s Office (which is the sheriff’s attorney in such matters) will not defend him with zeal because of States Attorney, Lou Bianchi, is supporting Bill Prim in the McHenry County Sheriff election.
  3. On July 19th, 2013 everyone appeared in court to only have everyone come back on August 20th. We still do not know who is defending the sheriff. Another hearing is now scheduled for August 20th.
  4. Sheriff Keith Nygren

    Sheriff Keith Nygren

    Early August the McHenry County State’s Attorney, Lou Bianchi responds to the jockeying in the courtroom for Special Assistant State’s Attorney to defend the sheriff. Bianchi said he was defending them the way a State’s Attorney should and said their request for another lawyer was based on “speculation and suspicion.” Bianchi stated that this all does not make a difference since Bill Prim and Andrew Zinke are not named in the case. He said Nygren and Leist are claiming Bianchi won’t “zealously represent” them, “without pleading or proving any facts.”

  5. On August 20th, 2013 Donald Leist the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, continued to argue that Bianchi won’t defend Sheriff Keith Nygren in this case. However in his argument Leist almost suggests that the report that exonerates Zinke of any wrong doing is actually harmful to his campaign for sheriff. He states to Judge Thomas Meyer “You would be giving the internal investigation of Andy Zinke to (Lou Bianchi) who’s in the political committee of Bill Prim.” FEN’s attorney Mary Gardner asks the Assistant State’s Attorneys Norm Vinton who is defending the sheriff’s office how big is the report?  He replies that he does not know, because he has not seen the report. Sheriff Keith Nygren and Equal Employment Opportunity Officer Donald Leist are so protective over this document that they have not even allowed the people defending them to look at it. The judge decides that it is McHenry County State’s Attorney, Lou Bianchi that will defend the interest of McHenry County. They will meet the following Tuesday to see if that will still work for everyone.
  6. McHenry County States Attorney Lou Bianchi

    McHenry County States Attorney Lou Bianchi

    On August 28th, 2013 the case continues and so does the jockeying to specify a lawyer for Nygren and Leist. Judge Thomas Meyer asks for each side to provide a list of three attorneys to pick to represent Sheriff Keith Nygren and Equal Employment Opportunity Officer Donald Leist and to avoid having to name a Special Assistant State’s Attorney. Bianchi had his list ready and Donald Leist asks the judge for 30 days to create his. The judge denies him and tells him to have the list by the following Friday. Judge Thomas Meyer tells Leist to provide the report and an index to the report for his in-chambers examination. Leist scratches out the order for this requirement but FEN’s attorney Mary Gardner pencils it back in as the judge was clear that he wanted the report and the index. The next hearing is scheduled in September.

  7. On September 20th, 2013 there is another hearing. At this point the list of attorney’s requested by both sides to represent the Sheriff Nygren and EEO Donald Leist is compiled. No one the list wants to represent Nygren or Leist in this case. Judge Thomas Meyer decides that he will continue to look for an attorney. He schedules a hearing for the following Thursday.
  8. First Assistant of the State’s Attorney’s Office Norm Vinton

    First Assistant of the State’s Attorney’s Office Norm Vinton

    On October 1st, 2013 it has been decided that it would be attempted to have The Appellate Defender represent Nygren and Leist since no other attorneys would. The only problem potentially is that the role of The Appellate Defender is to defend criminals that are indigent in criminal cases. Nygren and Leist are not poor and this is a civil suit. However Leist finds the representation acceptable for himself and Sheriff Nygren. Another hearing is scheduled to see if this idea to have The Appellate Defender defend Leist and Nygren will work.

  9. On October 4th, 2013 the idea is to have The Appellate Defender defend Sheriff Keith Nygren and Equal Employment Opportunity Officer Donald Leist did not work out. Judge Thomas Meyer stated that this would make nine attorneys that would not defend Nygren and Leist. The judge will now consider attorneys in the private practice. Judge Thomas Meyer stated, “I don’t want this to go on another month.” The judge asks McHenry County Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Norm Vinton to figure out what State statues require the County to pay a private attorney. Since now it looks like the tax payers are going to have to flip this bill. Vinton voices concern for the States Attorney Office about the cost involved in this case.
  10. On October 11th, 2013 Pete Gonigam of the First Electric Newspaper drops Sheriff Keith Nygren and Equal Employment Opportunity Officer Donald Leist from the case. This was to thwart continual delays by Donald Leist to find an attorney other than Lou Bianchi’s office to defend him and the sheriff. When FEN’s attorney Mary Gardner dropped Leist and Nygren from the case, Leist responded. He states to the judge, “You can’t divorce the person from the Office,” and complained, “I don’t believe the Sheriff’s Office has had an opportunity for a full and fair hearing.” Meyer said this was the third time he’s had to rule there’s no inherent conflict between the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office. He set a hearing date of October 29th to see if Donald Leist may change his mind by then.
  11. Equal Employment Opportunity Officer Donald Leist

    Equal Employment Opportunity Officer Donald Leist

    On October 29th, 2013 Donald Leist was still griping that the McHenry County States Attorney’s office would not properly defend the McHenry County Sheriff’s office in hiding this report that exonerates Zinke. Judge Thomas Meyer disagreed and said that he has no reason to think that Lou Bianchi’s office would not defend the sheriff’s office. Leist then volunteered himself to defend the sheriff’s office. Assistant State’s Attorney Brandy Quance objected and states that statutes make Bianchi’s office the legal counsel for the sheriff. However the judge ruled that Leist could also represent the sheriff’s office. Finally the attorney thing is all hashed out and the judge asked Leist to provide the report and index to the sheriff’s attorneys. Donald Leist objected and stated that no one should be able to see the report or the index, because it may be leaked. “They can’t represent the Sheriff if they don’t have access to it,” said Judge Thomas Meyer. “Like it or not, they’re your attorneys.” The bickering went on for almost an hour and the judge decided to hear more arguments on Thursday.

  12. On November 1, 2013 the plan that Donald Leist will be co-counsel in this case had fallen through. Judge Thomas Meyer said that he would only allow one lawyer to make argument in this case. The judge also told First Assistant State’s Attorney Norm Vinton that he could file a motion to remove Leist from the case. On a side note that same day, the Northwest Herald had a copy of the 100 page report. Things that make you go hummm….. Nygren and Leist are the only ones with copies of this report. How did the NWH get a copy, hummm……? If they leaked it, why would they trust a newspaper when they don’t even trust their own attorneys? The accusation that the NWH is in the pocket of the sheriff’s office had been made before. An unsigned editorial said the report contains “nothing” but also said it contains “enough smoke for Zinke’s political opponents to wave around.”
  13. On November 7th, 2013 Judge Thomas Meyer made it clear that Leist could stand at the bench and listen, not arguing and filing more motions. Donald Leist started to argue again to appoint special counsel to defend the Sheriff’s Office but the judge ignored him. “You are the attorney,” Meyer told Assistant State’s Attorney Brandy Quance.  “You will make the decisions because you are in charge of the case.” FEN Attorney Mary Gardner asked again for the index. The judge told Assistant State’s Attorney Brandy Quance that she had to November 19th to hand over the index or argue why she shouldn’t.
  14. On November 15th, 2013 The McHenry County State’s Attorney and sheriff’s office moved to withhold the index from everyone except the lawyers. In the motion filed it said that “dissemination in any fashion could be extremely detrimental to the Sheriff’s Office’s operations and, specifically, any undercover drug operations.” I personally find this statement funny. Do you think Andrew Zinke was concerned about compromising drug operations when he told Brian Goode that they were tracking shipments of marijuana in the tons to his RITA Corporation? Yeah, they were so concerned about compromising drug operations that they are the ones that most likely gave it to the Northwest Herald.
  15. Judge Thomas Meyer

    Judge Thomas Meyer

    On November 19th, 2013 Judge Thomas Meyer had issued a gag order. All the attorneys had a copy of the index to what we now to be a 100 page report exonerating Zinke for tipping off Brian Goode that the DEA was looking at his RITA Corporation for receiving shipments of marijuana in the tons. The best indicator of what is in the Index of the report is through a quote from Pete Gonigam. He said, “It’s pretty obvious from the index what the Sheriff doesn’t want anyone to see; but if I say any more than, ‘It looks like what I thought might be there’, or, ‘It’s item two on the list,’ the judge will find me in contempt of court and great will be his wrath.” Another hearing is scheduled.

  16. On December 12th, the judge considered FEN’s motion the previous Tuesday to turn over the report. Judge Thomas Meyer said that he could not consider the motion until January 29th of the following year. Donald Leist complained to Judge Meyer that FEN attorney Mary Gardner did not file correctly a list of uncontested facts required by local court rules. Meyer cut Leist off and told him that attorney’s unfamiliar with McHenry County Courtrooms, make that mistake putting it in the bodies of their motions instead. Mary Gardner stated that is what she did and complained to the judge that Leist’s representation was limited to observing and should not be arguing in this case.
  17. On January 10th, 2014 there is another hearing. This was to discuss FEN’s motion to immediately release the 100 page Zinke Drug Report to FEN as requested by FEN, and then seconded by the Illinois Attorney General’s PAB office. They debated the list of uncontested facts but a list was decided and accepted. The sheriff’s attorneys requested 45 days to file a motion. FEN’s attorney Mary Gardner complained that this should have already been filed and the judge agreed. However Judge Thomas Meyer allowed them seven days to do so.
  18. On January 17th, 2014 Sheriff Keith Nygren filed an affidavit that said he “reviewed each and every page” of an investigation of Undersheriff Andy Zinke a year ago, “and carefully and thoughtfully considered each and every fact, allegation, defense and inference,” before he “adjudicated” charges against Zinke were “unsubstantiated.” This was filed in part to address FEN’s motion to immediately release the report.
  19. On January 29th, 2014 Judge Thomas Meyer suggested that he was probably going to allow the sheriff’s office to keep the 100 page report a secret. The judge was troubled that a key document was not commented on by the Illinois Attorney General’s PAB office. The judge would like to see if the PAB had the document when they ruled. The problem now is all this court jockeying has gone on so long that the attorney that reviewed the original FOIA Appeal no longer works at that office. Another hearing is set for the upcoming Wednesday.
  20. Pete Gonigam, publisher of the First Electric Newspaper.

    Pete Gonigam, publisher of the First Electric Newspaper.

    On February 5th, 2014 Judge Thomas Meyer ruled that the report was over the “adjudication” of Undersheriff Andrew Zinke and therefore withheld from the public’s eye, railroading the Illinois Attorney General’s findings. However, he ordered the release of material in the report that is already in the public, and the judge said that this case is not closed thanks to the Northwest Herald. They had an editorial review of the report citing it contained “smoke for Zinke’s political opponents to wave around.” FEN attorney Mary Gardner has argued that means the report’s already been released so now the Sheriff can’t withhold it. Another hearing is scheduled for Friday.

  21. On February 14th, 2014 Judge Thomas Meyer refused to stop FEN from pursuing the 100 page report that exonerates Undersheriff Andrew Zinke. The report was leaked to the Northwest Herald and at the time only the sheriff’s office had this report. If the sheriff’s office released it to the NWH then it is public domain and FEN should get the copy that they requested. The sheriff’s attorney, Assistant State’s Attorney Brandy Quance told the judge that she was going to appeal the partial release order and wanted Meyer to halt the whole case until a verdict was given at the appellate. FEN’s attorney Mary Gardner argued that there was a need to find out what was leaked to the NWH. The judge asked sheriff’s attorney Brandy Quance why he should halt the whole case. A long silence was her reply. While the judge was temporarily in chambers, sheriff’s attorney, Equal Employment Opportunity Officer Donald Leist said to FEN’s attorney Mary Gardner “You’re the one trying to influence the election. You and your client.” The bailiff said to Leist after threatening to throw him out, “You can’t bait people here, Mr. Leist.” Another hearing is scheduled five days prior to the Republican Primary election for sheriff on March 13th. The Saga Continues……

So what do you think? Put yourself in Pete Gonigam shoes, what if this were you? You were denied a reasonable request. You then seek a higher authority to appeal too. They agree with you and offer a verdict in your favor. You would expect that would be the end of it right? How much do you think it costs every time to have your lawyer appear in court? How much do you think that it costs to have your lawyer prepare for each appearance in court? If you feel that Mr. Gonigam’s isn’t getting the run around and it is perfectly ok to have 21 plus hearings after a higher government entity has made a verdict, vote for Undersheriff Andrew Zinke in the Republican Primary for sheriff on March 18th. With him you are guaranteed a continuance of belligerency. If you are appalled by the plight of Mr. Gonigam then vote Bill Prim instead. He stands for integrity and transparency. I will let you all know what happens when this thing finally ends.

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I have put together some of the articles that I have written that are prevalent for the upcoming election in MARCH!. This is the Republican Nominee election but probably more important than the general election. It is most likely the winner in March will win in November and become sheriff. If you review the articles in the Knowledge Center, you will read all kinds of unbelievable things as it relates to this election.


My mother and father, Ron and Kathy Scharff, 1969.

Freedom of Information Act Appeal to get the remainder of my father’s file. In my efforts to get to the bottom of my father’s murder and what the McHenry County Sheriff’s office has done to me and my family 33 years ago. I filed a FOIA Request (Freedom of Information Act Request) to get my father’s case file. Many documents were withheld from my request. It is my believe the documents are withheld to protect guilty individuals that are known to Sheriff Keith Nygren and Undersheriff Andrew Zinke that covered up who actually killed my father during the original investigation. Start on page 11 to read what sounds like a murder mystery thriller, but this is my true life. It is backed by FBI reports, witness statements, and newspaper articles.

Undersheriff Andrew Zinke and the Rita Corporation on RT 31Andrew Zinke for McHenry County Sheriff, Really??? This article is based on my own father’s murder investigation and Undersheriff Andrew Zinke. I talked about how he made his own milestones and failed to meet every single one. How it took me calling NBC News Chicago to get Andrew Zinke to return my phone call about my father’s murder investigation, as he was the lead investigator. I am fighting to get the remainder of my father’s case file. It is my believe that Undersheriff Andrew Zinke and the Sheriff Keith Nygren are hiding and protecting individuals that covered up the true killer of my father during the original investigation.

Undersheriff Andrew Zinke and the Rita Corporation on RT 31Andrew Zinke plus Rita Corporation equals ON THE TAKE Brian Goode and his RITA Corporation was a person of interest and focal point for the investigation of the distribution of 30 plus tons of marijuana. Undersheriff Andrew Zinke told Brian Goode of the investigation. Two days later, according to Koziol, (Sgt. Koziol was working on the investigation and filed a complaint against Zinke) Goode gave Zinke’s election campaign a $5,000 donation. The RITA Corporation address is the same address as Andrew Zinke’s campaign headquarters.

Deputy Zane SeiplerMcHenry County Deputy Zane Seipler under siege, Again!! Zane Seipler is a whistleblowing deputy that was fired by Keith Nygren after he exposed the sheriff’s office for racial profiling. Nygren was forced to hire Seipler back after he lost an arbitration ruling, a court hearing, an appellate court hearing, and a failed attempt to be heard by the Illinois State Supreme Court. After Seipler was hired back, Nygren fired him again. Zane Seipler is currently fighting to get his job back.

Deputy Scott Milliman in uniform.

Another McHenry County Deputy under siege, Scott Milliman Scott Milliman was a deputy and former right hand man to Sheriff Keith Nygren. He was fired by the sheriff for whistleblowing that the sheriff allegedly transacted in ticket fixing, bribery, general corruption, fraud in a SBA Loan, and in tapping Milliman himself to kill a McHenry County Judge and a Coroner’s Candidate. Scott Milliman is currently fighting to get his job back.

Gary Gauger, of Richmond, was wrongly convicted of murdering his parents in 1993 and sentenced to death. After years in prison his sentence was overturned and two gang members were later convicted of the murders. Gauger is released a book detailing the event called IN SPITE OF THE SYSTEM. (Ryan Rayburn photo)

How Gary Gauger got to DEATH ROW This is the real life, tragic story of Gary Gauger. He was falsely arrested and sent to Death Row by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department for the double murder of his parents. Investigators from the sheriff’s department rigged a false confession so that they could convict him.


Undersheriff Andrew Zinke giving Cal Skinner the finger at the 4th of July Parade in Crystal Lake, IL.

McHenry County Ethics Commission, Ethical or NOT!?!? The McHenry County Ethics Commission conducted a hearing of a complaint filed by Cal Skinner that Undersheriff Andrew Zinke used a government computer for a very politically charged email. The hearing was ran over by Zinke’s attorneys Mark Gummerson and Rebecca Lee. The sign up sheet to speak at the hearing went missing but found in the possession of Rebecca Lee. The commission went into secret session, made its decision, and did so without explanation.

Pete Gonigam, publisher of the First Electric Newspaper.

First Electric Newspaper v.s. Sheriff Nygren and EEO Officer Donald Leist Pete Gonigam won a Public Access Bureau (Illinois States Attorney) appeal for the release of a 100 page report conducted by the McHenry County Sheriff’s office. The report exonerated Undersheriff Andrew Zinke after he told Brian Goode that he and his RITA Corporation was a the focal point of a drug investigation by the DEA.

Undersheriff Andrew Zinke giving Cal Skinner the finger at the 4th of July Parade in Crystal Lake, IL.

Zinke’s middle finger may cost Cal Skinner $5,000 After filing a valid ethics complaint against Undersheriff Andrew Zinke for using a government computer for his campaign, Cal Skinner was to face Zinke’s attorney Mark Gummerson. Gummerson was lobbying for a $5,000 fine against Skinner filing a valid complaint. An act of bulling and intimidation of a McHenry County citizen.

Local 150 International Union of Operating Engineers

Will McHenry County be Ripped Off by Special Interest in Sheriff Election? I question the interest and the contribution to Undersheriff Andrew Zinke’s campaign from the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150 election. I send a letter to the President-Business Manager of the union James M. Sweeney.

Local 150 International Union of Operating Engineers

IUOE Local 150 and Andrew Zinke. Is this Gangster Money for a Gangster Cop? The International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150 contributes money to Undersheriff’s Andrew Zinke’s campaign. They have known ties to the Colombo and Gambino Crime Families.


Cal Skinner former McHenry County Treasure and State Representative and current editor of the mchenrycountyblog.com.

Undersheriff Andrew Zinke Shuts Down Cal Skinner’s Blog Site Undersheriff Andrew Zinke’s campaign was able to get Cal Skinner’s website, mchenrycountyblog.com shut down by falsely accusing him of stalking and linking to obscene material. Read here on how Zinke’s campaign resorts to breaking the law to silence a citizen’s voice.


Zinke-looking-right-eyes-at-cameraAndrew Zinke Fearful to Debate Bill Prim Lies to Get Out of It. Undersheriff Andrew Zinke is so fearful to debate Bill Prim for McHenry County Sheriff that he lies to get out of it. Zinke knows that he would be out matched, outwitted, and the truth of his corrupt character would be revealed to the citizens of McHenry County. Instead of enduring such damage to his campaign he lies to coward out of it.

Sheriff Keith Nygren

Is Sheriff Nygren and Undersheriff Zinke Intimidating and Tampering with Federal Witnesses? Is Sheriff Nygren and Undersheriff Zinke intimidating federal witnesses? Or are the deputies fighting back? Donald Leist, the sheriff’s in house lawyer sent a letter to 30 deputies and correctional officers to be interrogated prior to their depositions in a federal case. Would that work anywhere else in the US or just McHerny County?


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