ISLAND LAKE – A supporter of Island Lake’s new village president will receive $20,000 to drop a lawsuit against the village, according to the settlement agreement.
The Village Board approved the settlement on the condition that a lawsuit filed by Mike’s Towing also be dropped, Village Clerk Teresa Ponio said.
“It’s over with, and now we don’t have to worry about it hanging over our head,” Village President Charles Amrich said, adding that the cost of going to court would have been higher than the settlement, which will be paid out in three payments over the next nine or so months.
The lawsuit was filed by Greg Jenkins after a website targeting then-village president candidate Charles Amrich and his For the People slate posted village documents about him and his son.
Jenkins gave $1,750 in monetary contributions and nearly $20,000 more in donations of food and website help to Amrich’s campaign, which ultimately was successful.
The lawsuit also named Daniel Field and Louis Sharp, the two Island Lake residents and businessmen who had tried to get Amrich kicked off the ballot. Field also created the website.
The village was named in the lawsuit because the documents posted – an arrest report and voluntary statement – came from the Island Lake Police Department, said Jenkins’ attorney, David Zipp.
Zipp questioned whether the documents should have been released under the Freedom of Information Act.
He also said the document was improperly redacted – it was redacted in a way that the information was still legible – and an investigation conducted as part of the lawsuit found that the records’ release didn’t go through the village’s FOIA officer.
The lawsuit was designed to be a “warning shot” to the village and the website creator to stop posting information, Zipp said.
Once the new members of the board took office, they decided to drop the matter, Zipp said, adding that the $20,000 will cover his attorney’s fees, filing fees and the cost of the investigation.
“I think [Jenkins] lost money, quite frankly,” he said.