Friday, May 27, 2011

Bianchi a Top Media Priority of Illinois Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor Starting October 2007

ILSAAP Began "Extensive" Contracted Media Consulting for McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi on Oct. 1, 2007. Two Days Later, Bianchi's Chief Investigator and Campaign Manager Received Phone Call from "An Unnamed Informant" About Former Employee's Transferred Computer Files.

The Illinois Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor (ILSAAP) began extensive, but quiet, contracted media consulting for McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi starting Oct. 1, 2007, according to an activity report submitted by Curry Public Strategies of Wheaton who would later describe themselves as "game changers".

Two days after the consulting kicked off, "an unnamed informant" phoned the state's attorney 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 examining court records, "Bianchi's Office Knew of Files". Salgado was also Bianchi's campaign manager.

The first week of August 2007, Woodstock attorney Dan Regna announced his candidacy to unseat Bianchi in the upcoming primary. He criticized the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s office, “labeling it a ‘political command post’ for Bianchi and his top advisors".

Three weeks later, a special meeting of the ILSAAP Board of Governors held in Springfield included a detailed discussion of contracting Curry Public Strategies, led by Board Vice Chairman Joe Birkett. Citizens to Elect Joe Birkett had paid the consultants over $55,000 for campaign communications prior to this discussionThe Board unanimously voted for the contract three weeks later following a presentation of the firm's proposal. 

Board minutes reported a remark from Curry Public Strategies' proposal made several weeks before the assistance began in McHenry County"Occasionally, a state's attorney knows something bad is coming out, or something is going to be portrayed as bad will come out...in that event the tactic to be used may be to aggressively pre-empt the prospective bad publicity by putting a positive spin on the case."

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ILSAAP Vice Chairman Joe Birkett Steered Agency Contracts to His Political "Game Changer" Consultants

While serving as vice chairman of the Illinois Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor (ILSAAP) Board of Governors, Illinois Second District Appellate Court Justice Joe Birkett advocated two annual Agency contracts in 2007 and 2008 for his political "game changer" consultants who then provided him with extensive one-on-one tax-paid work.

ILSAAP contracted Reverse Spin of Wheaton from January 2008 through June 2009 for media consulting. Reverse Spin is co-owned by Dan Curry and John Pearman, self-dubbed as "game changers". From October through December 2007, the state agency had contracted with Reverse Spin's predecessor, Curry Public Strategies

According to detailed Board minutes, these contracts were ushered in by the ILSAAP vice chairman. Activity reports submitted to ILSAAP with invoices show Reverse Spin devoted considerable one-on-one tax-paid time with their political clients -- DuPage County State's Attorney Birkett and McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi. 


Yet, the political consultants' campaign work for Birkett was never brought up in the copious minutes as a potential conflict of interest in the initial 2007 contract or its renewal the following year.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Shadowy Illinois State's Attorneys Association Filed Amicus Curiae Brief for Client of Bianchi's Attorney

Association Closely Affiliated with State Agency Representing McHenry County in Illinois Appellate Court Case Objecting Payment to Bianchi's Special Prosecutors Recently Supported Public Payment of Legal Fees for Ekl's Client -- Former Edgar County State's Attorney -- by Filing "Friend of the Court" Brief

The Illinois State's Attorneys Association filed an an amicus curiae "friend of the court" brief on Sept. 22, 2010 supporting public payment of legal fees for former Edgar County State's Attorney Michael McFatridge involved in ongoing high-profile federal civil lawsuits, represented by Terry Ekl, according to court documents.

Ekl is also the attorney for McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi. Bianchi was indicted ten days prior to this filing.

Board minutes report that the Illinois Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor (ILSAAP) Board of Governors unanimously approved the filing of this brief by the Association, a non-profit corporation closely affiliated with ILSAAP apparently not subject to the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act. 

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Political Campaigns of Bianchi and Birkett Paid Media Consultants Contracted by Illinois Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor

ILSAAP "Game Changers" Provided Extensive One-On-One Tax-Paid Consulting to Their Political Clients -- Louis Bianchi & ILSAAP Vice Chairman Joe Birkett. 

While under contract for media consulting for the Illinois Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor (ILSAAP), Reverse Spin of Wheaton was paid for campaign work for McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi and former DuPage County State's Attorney/ILSAAP Board of Governors Vice Chairman Joe Birkett.

ILSAAP contracted Reverse Spin from January 2008 through June 2009 for media consulting. Reverse Spin is co-owned by Dan Curry and John Pearman, self-dubbed as "game changers". (From October through December 2007, the state agency had contracted with Reverse Spin's predecessor, Curry Public Strategies.) 

According to activity reports submitted to ILSAAP, Reverse Spin also devoted considerable one-on-one tax-paid time with these two political clients -- especially Bianchi. It remains unknown what project at Bianchi's office required the urgent and extensive work of an ILSAAP media consultant starting Oct. 1, 2007.

In 2008, the Committee to Re-Elect Louis Bianchi paid Reverse Spin $5,500 -- $2,500 for media production for the primary election and $3,000 for consultation and materials. In 2008 and 2009, Citizens to Elect Joe Birkett had paid Reverse Spin $49,500 for consulting. Birkett announced his bid for Illinois attorney general in July 2009, then pulled out of the race one month later. 

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Illinois Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor Contracted "Game Changers" to Assist Bianchi

Until McHenryLeaks launched last month, the public was uninformed that Illinois Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor (ILSAAP) had been quietly assisting McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi for over three years.

Early assistance was provided by two contracted media consulting companies: Curry Public Strategies starting October 2007, which morphed into Reverse Spin starting January 2008 -- both from Wheaton and both managed by Dan Curry.

Despite devoting extensive attention on Bianchi for months, no reference of the ILSAAP media consultant/spokesperson can be located in the McHenry County mainstream news until a few weeks ago. The local media was unaware of Curry's state contract; instead, they described him as "a political consultant", a "friend of Bianchi's", and "the guy in the back of the room with a Blackberry". 

Media references of the ILSAAP spokesperson beyond the McHenry County border, however, have been floating on-line several years for: Winnebago CountySangamon County/Cass CountyMorgan Countythe state, etc. Yet, these projects received comparatively little dedication than Bianchi, according to activity reports.

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

State Agency or Prosecutorial Fraternity? ILSAAP Special Prosecutor Colburn Signed Motion Connected to Client of Bianchi's Attorney

Illinois Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Chuck Colburn Represents McHenry County in Fee Battle Against Bianchi's Special Prosecutors. In 2008, Colburn Signed Motion Which Might Have Served as Legal Protection for Client of Bianchi's Attorney.

Illinois Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor (ILSAAP) Special Prosecutor Charles Colburn, currently in an Appellate Court fee battle against the special prosecutors of the McHenry County State's Attorney, signed a motion in 2008 which may have served as legal protection of a client of Bianchi's attorney, Terry Ekl. 

This motion is related to an amicus curiae "friend of the court" brief prepared and unanimously approved by ILSAAP's Board of Governors last September supporting public payment of legal fees of the same client of Ekl's.

ILSAAP's highly-publicized motion to Nolle Prosequi Without Prejudice was for the release of Herb Whitlock who had been convicted 21 years earlier, along with Gordon "Randy" Steidl, for the 1986 murders of Dyke and Karen Rhoads of Paris, ILThe granted motion, however, provided no finality for Whitlock; the State still asserts that he is under suspicion and requires additional investigation. 

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

History Repeating Itself? Amicus Curiae Brief & DuPage Seven Fees

Last September, Illinois Office of the State's Attorney Appellate Prosecutor (ILSAAP) Vice Chairman Joe Birkett led a discussion in a Board of Governors meeting regarding an amicus curiae brief on public payment of legal fees for former Edgar County State's Attorney Michael McFatridge, represented by Terry Ekl.

Comparisons could be made with events 13 years ago.  

DuPage County State's Attorney Birkett had approached the DuPage County Board to pay the legal bills of the DuPage Seven -- three prosecutors and four deputies indicted on 47 charges of conspiracy related to the investigations, prosecutions and convictions involving the kidnapping and murder of young Jeanine Nicarico. Ekl represented one of the prosecutors.

Victims of Justice Revisited, by Thomas Frisbee and Randy Garrett, includes details leading to the trial of the DuPage Seven. This book has been used as a textbook in law schools nationwide to examine how capital cases are prosecuted in the United States. Yet, the book cannot be found in a public library anywhere in DuPage County, according to the LINC system.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Illinois Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor Approved Amicus Curiae Brief for Client of Bianchi's Attorney Last September

Same State Agency Representing McHenry County in Illinois Appellate Court Case Objecting Payment to Bianchi's Special Prosecutors Recently Supported Public Payment of Legal Fees for Ekl's Client -- Former Edgar County State's Attorney -- by Preparing "Friend of the Court" Brief

The Illinois Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor (ILSAAP) Board of Governors unanimously approved the preparation of an amicus curiae "friend of the court" brief supporting public payment of legal fees for former Edgar County State's Attorney Michael McFatridge involved in ongoing high-profile federal civil lawsuits, represented by Terry Ekl, according to the Sept. 22, 2010 minutes.

Ekl is also the attorney for McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi. Bianchi was indicted 12 days prior to this meeting.

While ILSAAP agreed to be a "friend of the court" supporting McFatridge's payment of legal fees as a state official, it has taken an adversarial position on the bills of Bianchi's special prosecutors Henry Tonigan and Thomas McQueen. First Electric Newspaper reported that ILSAAP special prosecutor Chuck Colburn last month asked the Second District Appellate Court to overturn McHenry County Circuit Court Judge Gordon Graham's refusal to reduce payments to Tonigan and McQueen.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Information on Bianchi Photo Raises More Questions

The context of a photo currently in rotation on the home page of the website for Illinois Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor (ILSAAP) featuring McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi and others "standing up for justice" unravels.

The gathering, including three members of the ILSAAP Board of Governors members and ILSAAP Executive Director Pat Delfino, was in recognition of IL Rep. Frank Mautino (D), 76th District, as "Outstanding Legislator of the Year" in the fall of 2010 from the Illinois State's Attorneys Association. 

It remains unclear when the photo was taken; one staff person said that the award was announced in October 2010, but not presented until March. The presence of former Sangamon County State's Attoney John Schmidt in the photo suggests that it was taken in 2010 prior to leaving his position for an appointment to the circuit court.  Schmidt served as chairman of ILSAAP's Board of Governors in 2010.

ILSAAP Board of Governors members often serve simultaneously in leadership positions on the Association. For example, former DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett served both as ILSAAP's vice chairman and the Association's president in 2008.  Former Association presidents augment their resumes with such accomplishments.

Standing to Bianchi's left in the photo is LaSalle County State's Attorney Brian Towne who is scheduled to appear today with Winnebago County Circuit Court Judge Joseph McGraw in a three-person panel discussion at an ILSAAP seminar in Naperville. Bianchi's attendance in the photo implies that he has served recently on the Association's board.  

Bianchi was indicted on Sept. 10, 2010.

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