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Federal judge dismisses most of Galt Airport owners' suit

GREENWOOD – Galt Airport owners plan to re-file most of their lawsuit against Sheriff Keith Nygren and several of his deputies after a federal judge dismissed it this week.

Michael Stanard and his wife, Joeleen, had claimed that Nygren used extortion to force them to hire off-duty deputies at $40 an hour to patrol events at the airport in Greenwood.

U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Kapala tossed out claims relating to the Hobbs Act, the First Amendment and a requested federal class action lawsuit. But he gave them until Sept. 30 to refile the rest of the 25 claims, which included racketeering, conspiracy and depravation of civil rights.

“The judge made some comments that we’ll follow, and we’re anxious to give it to the jury,” said Michael Stanard, who also is Greenwood’s village president.

Officials in the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, which is representing the sheriff’s office, said the Stanards had not provided a legal basis for their first complaint.

“We’re confident we’ll be moving to strike whatever amendments are filed,” State’s Attorney Louis Bianchi said.

He said he didn’t believe that the underlying allegations against the sheriff’s department were true, but that ultimately could be a factual question for a judge or jury.

Meanwhile, the Stanards are using another means of private security at their events.

“We hired one of Chicago’s oldest and most reputable firms,” Michael Stanard said. “We’re erring on the side of safety.”

The original lawsuit was filed in July 2007.

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