Federal judge dismisses shakedown claims against McHenry Co. sheriff

Published1/27/2009 4:55 PM

A federal judge again has thrown out a concert promoter's lawsuit claiming McHenry County Sheriff's officials conducted a shakedown to force the hiring off-duty deputies as security at his events.

This time, apparently, for good.


In a seven-page decision delivered this week, U.S. District Court Judge Frederick J. Kapala states promoter H. Michael Stanard fails to show how the sheriff's department violated his rights.

Kampala issued a similar ruling in August, but gave Stanard's lawyer an opportunity to clear up the allegations and refile the suit. Several attempts to do so, Kampala states in his ruling, failed to make the claims any more clear or came in too late or too sloppy to consider.

"The court and defense counsel remain in the dark as to which acts (violated Stanard's rights)," Kampala says.

Sheriff Keith Nygren called the ruling "very good news" and said he might follow it up with some litigation of his own, namely a lawsuit against Stanard to recover the county's defense costs. He said he would even use his own money to pursue that lawsuit.

"He made a public spectacle out of this to discredit this department and the people who work here," Nygren said Tuesday. "If you're going to spend taxpayers' money, it ought to be for a good reason, and this wasn't."

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Stanard, who is village president in the small town of Greenwood in northern McHenry County, did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday.

His suit, filed in July 2007, sought $2 million from the county on claims Nygren and other sheriff's officials tried to bully him into using deputies - at a rate of $40 an hour - to provide security at concerts at his Galt Airport in Greenwood.

The suit claimed that Nygren threatened to shut down the road leading to the venue should Stanard hire a private security firm instead of off-duty sheriff's personnel.

Nygren said Tuesday he may also file a complaint against Stanard's lawyer with the state's Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission for pursuing frivolous litigation.

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