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April 23, 2024

Wrong is Right – Up is Down – Front is Back

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On November 29, 2013


There is no other way to describe the events coming out of Illinois Department of Public Health than simply upside down.

You may recall the article on the FIPHD Administrator and his resume issues found in this article.  The records we received for that article came from IDPH and they failed miserably to redact private information.

Then three months later, the less than brilliant former FIPHD attorney, now private attorney for Doug Corbett…….we think, sends a demand letter to us that basically proved yet again he can’t read the law.

Now, in total amazement to me, I received this letter from IDPH making demands of me that they have absolutely no authority to make and to top it off, insinuations that I committed a crime by publishing the very information that they provided.

Just who does IDPH think they are that they have any authority to demand the return of a FOIA that they provided 4 months earlier? Not only demands of return, but demands that a certified letter (costing me money)  be sent if I had already destroyed the records.  There is NOTHING in the FOIA statute pertaining to this and we all know when the law is silent, you don’t have the authority no matter how bad you want it!

This is the response provided to them.   I then sent this response to the Public Access Counselor in the AG office for a formal review.

Where this story takes such an interesting twist is the statute and its connection and obligations of IDPH.

(5 ILCS 179/35)
    Sec. 35. Identity-protection policy; local government.
    (a) Each local government agency must draft and approve an identity-protection policy within 12 months after the effective date of this Act. The policy must do all of the following:

That little section is one that I have never heard of before, and must not only now implement with our Township and Fire Protection District, but it’s one that ALL public bodies must draft and approve.

With IDPH being a state agency and so willing to make criminal insinuations towards myself, I went ahead and sent this FOIA for the Identity-protection policy approved for IDPH, and guess what?  They have one and this is it.

So here is why all these little pieces of the puzzle are so interesting.  IDPH attempts to insinuate I violated the law, when in fact it was their own FOIA officer that not only violated the statute they tried to apply to me, which failed miserably, but even failed to comply with a policy in place as required.  So in one swell swoop they violated the statute, their own policy, and then felt the need to insinuate I did something wrong.



This language was in my response back to them when they first sent my letter.

“Considering there has been a clear acknowledged failure to comply with the statute by the FOIA officer I direct you to section 45 of the statute.”

(5 ILCS 179/45)

    Sec. 45. Violation. Any person who intentionally violates the prohibitions in Section 10 of this Act is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.

(Source: P.A. 96-874, eff. 6-1-10.)

“Now that you are aware of a potential criminal act by a person employed with your state agency do you intend to initiate the appropriate criminal investigation and pursue prosecution? “

I think we all know the answer to that question, which is no.  I suspect the person who violated their own policy as well as state law didn’t even get a reprimand in her personnel file.  I may be wrong but I bet nothing was done about their own illegal actions.

It just amazes me how they threaten me when it was there own agency that was the problem.  It’s yet another example of how upside down things are.  They were wrong, I was right, but instead of admitting to that they took the position that they were right and I was wrong.

Our society is plagued with this type of logic and its a key factor to our own demise.

I suspect, truth be known, Doug Corbett took the first smart step we have ever seen and is taking action against IDPH for releasing his private information.  He has grounds to sue them, provided he can show damages, but all that aside, if Mr. Corbett feels the need to sue IDPH for their failure to redact private information, shouldn’t those people in Iroquois County do the same to him for his failure to redact their private information?

It’s amazing how things come full circle in life! 


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