County board loses appeal on AG’s ruling; still has not released documents

WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WREX) — It has been 48 days since the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Bureau ruled two Winnebago County board committees violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act by discussing the county’s potential 911 agreement in closed session.

The county board has still not released documents and recordings to WREX, despite a request from the AG’s office to make the materials public.

On Tuesday, the attorney general denied an appeal by Winnebago County Deputy State’s Attorney David Kurlinkus that asked the office to reconsider and modify its original ruling. You can read the attorney general’s response below.

Kurlinkus has refused to comment to WREX on the situation, saying on Aug. 30 “he is not in a position to comment on that” despite his role as counsel for the county board. When Kurlinkus was asked on that same day whether the board would release the recordings and documents in question, he said, “I don’t know.”

His boss, Marilyn Hite Ross, who initially advised the committees to go into the closed session, has refused to answer our questions about the ruling.

Last month, Operations and Administrative Committee chairman Keith MacDonald told WREX he was advised by Hite Ross to release the documents within 60 days of the ruling, but did not say an appeal would be filed. Sunday, Oct. 20 would mark 60 days since the ruling.

13 WREX reached out to MacDonald Tuesday, following the denial of the appeal, but he has yet to return our call.

This story will continue to be updated.

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