PRIM: ZINKE STRATEGY DENY, DECEIVE, DELAY
Two recent developments in the primary race for McHenry County Sheriff provide even further evidence of a pattern in the conduct of candidate Andy Zinke, that is, abuse of power followed by blame-shifting, withholding or delaying information, according to Bill Prim, Republican candidate for Sheriff.
“Whenever the truth might embarrass his campaign, Mr. Zinke either denies it, delays its release, or attempts to deceive voters as to its existence,” he said.
Prim said Sunday that the latest two incidents, if confirmed, are particularly troubling. One involves the use of the state’s digital law enforcement database to obtain the personal information of a motorist by using a vehicle license plate.
The second allegedly involves paying a campaign consultant to insult and denigrate Zinke’s perceived political opponents on various Internet comment boards.
Both incidents have given rise to lawsuits, the first example being one filed Friday in U.S. District Court, alleging that Zinke, after being served at his home with a subpoena for a civil lawsuit that did not involve the Sheriff’s Office directly, became enraged, stood in front of the process server’s vehicle, thereby preventing it from moving, and noted the plate number.
The vehicle in question belongs to a 78-year-old Woodstock woman, who is the plaintiff. The lawsuit further alleges that “Zinke thereafter ran Plaintiff’s license plate…through the Illinois State Police Law Enforcement Agencies Database System (“LEADS”).”
Prim, a 27-year law enforcement veteran, said that, “Anyone in law enforcement knows that it is a violation to use LEADS for personal reasons. For someone of Mr. Zinke’s rank to abuse the system is, if the allegation is true, extremely troubling. He is supposed to be setting an example for the rest of the Sheriff’s Office.”
A second example also surfaced this week. Legal efforts had begun in January by McHenry County State’s Attorney Louis Bianchi, acting in his private capacity, to identify the person using a Japanese “screen name” who had posted a series of accusatory comments against both Bianchi and Prim.
The scope narrowed to one Tamara DeModica, who currently serves on the Committee to Elect Andrew Zinke; was paid by his campaign at least $7,450 (total paid to her personally and to her firm TEC Communications Consulting) in 2013 for campaign communications; and is listed multiple times on Mr. Zinke's election website and in Mr. Zinke's press releases as a contact person for the campaign.
Unique computer identifiers were traced to a property management business for which Ms. DeModica is listed as registrant and administrative contact.
The posted comments alleged personal and professional corruption, and went on for some time. Yet as recently as February 25, during the Prim/Zinke debate at McHenry Community College, Mr. Zinke denied there was any personal animus between himself and State’s Attorney Bianchi and said he had “no issue with him.”
Prim observed, “And at that same debate, Mr. Zinke said he had no responsibility for a contract between McHenry County and the federal government regarding their use of beds at the County Jail,” Prim said. “But that’s his statement now that the contract is clearly costing the county millions of wasted dollars.” Angry county board members at last week’s board meeting noted that Mr. Zinke had indeed been at the table, in front of the board, when critical cost per inmate figures were vouched for several years ago, and were considered indicative of the true costs.
“If you want another example, take the phone call to his campaign donor at RITA Corp. warning him of DEA surveillance of a two-ton marijuana shipment en route to that company’s headquarters, also Mr. Zinke’s campaign headquarters. Once the incident was reported, all records of the internal investigation into Zinke that followed were buried, kept out of the public view, even when the Illinois Attorney General orders their release.”
Prim said that the Zinke campaign is above all focused on hiding, obscuring or distorting the candidate’s actual record. “The truth will come out eventually,” Prim said, “but it would be better for voters if they knew that truth now. But despite all his efforts, I believe voters can see the smoke and are smart enough to conclude that there is a mighty big fire underneath.”