McHenry Co. (ECWd) -
The legal wrangling in Algonquin Township continues and the transcript from November 2017 makes reference to suspicion of a crime. Reading the transcript points to concerns of access to the video records, not what may or may not be on the video. A very important point is made in the hearing. The video record from the Nest camera is a record of township activities occurring on township property. There was no dispute to that fact, which means, anything captured on the Nest Camera is public records.
The transcript outlines concerns of the record being deleted. (Page 5 & 6)
Kelly: There is a two-step access procedure to gain access to the thing, and we don't want to give--and I learned that once you have access, you can delete, modify, turn the thing off, alter any records that are recorded. And then he's asked for it through at 214 request, which means we'd give the access codes to everyone, which we don't want to do. So that's why we are asking for the protective order.
So it is clear, the protective order is tied to concerns that access to the record may lead to deletion, modification, disabling, or altering the recordings. For those that are not familiar with the history, this very case was brought because of concerns that the Township Clerk, Karen Lukasik may destroy public records.
Algonquin Township Attorney James Kelly confirms a willingness to provide the information captured by the cameras, however, that was not good enough for Lukasik's attorney.
Kelly made it clear, the township wants a protective order. (Page 11)
Kelly: they can look at any of this video that they want to. We just want to ensure that there is a protective order.
Kelly: What we've done is the records that are on it, we've downloaded to a flash drive. And I would --
McArdle: No, no, no, no,no.
Page 13 of the transcript is where the Judge gets to the bottom of the real concern.
Court: Why doesn't she have access she [Lukasik] needs to this system
Mr. Kelly: "Well, that's beyond -- the reason is is this"
Court: What it is--what it is is unnecessary suspicion --"
Mr. Kelly: Yes, I know it creates unnecessary suspicion.
Court: that this woman is going to commit a crime--
Mr. Kelly: Yes Judge.
Mr. Kelly: Yes Judge, that's what it looks like
So it would appear from the transcript, the criminal concern was related to Lukasik having access, not the fact the camera was recording township activities by public officials on township property. Not one lawyer raised any concerns in that hearing about the recording be a potential criminal act of eavesdropping. In fact, Kelly has responded to an FOIA request connected to the Nest camera claiming the information requested is confidential and tied to the security system. While the requested access information may be exempt, the contents of that camera at the time of the request was not exempt as security footage is subject to FOIA, and as clearly pointed out in the response, there was no protective order in place at the time of the request. The point being, Kelly has once again failed to follow the applicable laws for FOIA.
Stay tuned for the details as to how this court order was violated and who violated it.
You can view the transcript and second protective order below.