Monday, October 10, 2011

Same Tech Firm Examined Computers in High-Profile Cases Involving McHenry and Edgar Counties, Unreported Ties with DuPage County Brotherhood

McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi requested Protek, a high-tech-crime investigative firm, to search a computer hard-drive in October 2007 -- the beginning of a long saga of investigations and special prosecutions. Protek also had a role in retrieving emails of media consultants Reverse Spin in response to a court order in the ongoing Steidl-Whitlock federal civil lawsuit. Attorney Terry Ekl of DuPage County represents defendants in both cases.  

Protek's co-owner is a former DuPage County Assistant State's Attorney, the former first chief of the High Technology Crimes Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General's Office, and former counsel at Ekl's firm.  

Protek International, Inc., a Clarendon Hills-based firm specializing in investigations and advisory services related to cyber crime, inspected evidence from computer hard drives -- one in 2007, eventually becoming ground zero in several McHenry County special prosecutions, and the other in 2008, revealing an elaborate behind-the-scenes smear campaign against perceived threats in the Steidl-Whitlock federal civil lawsuits, including Medill Innocence Project and its former director, Prof. David Protess.

Protek's co-owner Keith Chval is a former assistant state's attorney in DuPage County from 1989 through 1996 under Jim Ryan and Joe Birkett. Chval then began working again for Ryan at the Illinois Attorney General's Office's High Technology Crimes Bureau, later holding the position of first chief. When he established Protek in 2005, he joined the law firm of Connolly, Ekl & Williams, P.C., also located in Clarendon Hills at that time. Terry Ekl represents defendants in theses cases involving Protek.

Protek & McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi 

In October 2007, McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi hired Protek to examine the contents of a hard drive in his office following a tip. "An unnamed informant" phoned the office's chief investigator Ron Salgado that a female employee "close to Bianchi" had transferred office computer files onto a jump or zip drive, accounts the article Daily Herald's Chuck Keeshan wrote after reviewing court records, "Bianchi's Office Knew of Files". Salgado was also Bianchi's campaign manager. 

Bianchi hired and paid Protek directly to analyze a hard drive from his office, instead of the conventional approach of going through the state's attorney's office. Later Bianchi sent the hard drive to the Illinois State Police and specifically requested Orland Park attorney David O'Connor be appointed special prosecutor to investigate the matter.