WHEELING, IL. (ECWd) -
In reference to our lawsuit alleging violations of the Freedom of Information Act, on February 19, 2019, Cook County Judge Pamela McLean Meyerson Ordered the Village of Wheeling to turn over surveillance video and swipe-key card data to the Edgar County Watchdogs, and Granted each Count in our Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. He Denied Wheeling's Motion for Summary Judgment.
Our attorney, Josh Burday from Loevy & Loevy, had this to say: "The Court ruled that not only are these records public records but that neither personal privacy nor security concerns allow Wheeling to withhold these surveillance videos from the public."
There is a status hearing scheduled for March 26, 2019, and we will be filing Motions for Attorney Fees, Costs, and Penalties.
I submitted FOIA requests with the Village of Wheeling on June 27, and July 7, 2017, asking for, among other things, one specific days' worth of security camera video, and some key-card swipe data for two village employees. The Village responded by denying my request claiming there were no responsive records, claiming the video was not a public record, and "the use and placement of security cameras is a function of a property owner, not a government" (even though it was the government who made the decision and owns the building), and later accusing me of stalking.
We filed suit in April of 2018 in Cook County Circuit Court. Wheeling was defended by an attorney from Klein Thorpe Jenkins law firm, who claimed the video and key swipe data were not public records.
This court stated they were public records and ordered their release. Wheeling may or may not appeal this Order.
Village Trustee Papantos voiced her opinion on releasing the key card data, which, incidentally, her opinion has no bearing on whether or not to release those public records (at the 1:07:00 mark in the below video).
James Kelly, attorney for Algonquin Township is fighting very similar matters with the AG PAC office and also pointed to stalking as part of his lame excuse for not complying with the obligation to provide public records. We covered that matter in this article, and considering the Wheeling ruling, it may be best to simply file suit against the Township again for their refusal to provide the records.