State Rep. David McSweeney has shifted his focus from infighting and corruption allegations inside Algonquin Township to Nunda Township, where McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally has sued officials for allegedly violating the Freedom of Information Act.
“It shows you there might be something to hide there,” McSweeney told the Northwest Herald. “Why would they stonewall the state’s attorney?”
The Barrington Hills Republican has been pushing House Bill 4637 – a proposed bill that could give officials in McHenry County’s 17 townships the power to put a binding referendum to voters asking whether the township should be eliminated.
In a July 13 lawsuit filed in McHenry County Circuit Court, Assistant State’s Attorney Jana Blake Dickson alleged that Nunda Township “knowingly acted in bad faith” when the local government failed to produce records in the time required by law, denied the state’s attorney’s request “without any valid exemption,” failed to “provide documents in the requested electronic format” and “improperly” charged fees.
Nunda Township Supervisor Lee Jennings declined to comment.
In January, Dickson sent Freedom of Information Act requests to Nunda and Grafton township officials asking for financial records from 2013 to 2017.
The McHenry County state’s attorney now is asking the court to agree that township officials broke the public records law.
Kenneally’s office also wants a court order stopping the government from withholding records and requiring officials to refund more than $700 the state’s attorney paid for documents.
McSweeney said the public records fight supports his push for an elimination bill.
“It represents the fact they don’t want to be transparent,” McSweeney said. “It supports the case that what we really need to do is give voters the chance to consolidate townships.”
Algonquin Township isn’t off the hook, McSweeney said.
“The situation on all sides at Algonquin Township is much worse than it was a few months ago,” he said. “The legal bills continue. The finger-pointing back and forth on all sides just supports the case [for consolidation].”