About two weeks ago I got a call from a fellow named Bob Johnson. He is the private investigator handling the Jim Shaw, Commissioner Pat Doolin and Lt. Steve Johnsen in-mess-tigation initiated by our village officials. He wanted to discuss the DVD made by CUinFP of the July 25, 2005 village council meeting, where afterward, a confrontation occurred between Shaw and Doolin.

I was out of town on July 25th so my colleague Marcy Wozniak filled in for me and did the taping. When I got the tape from Marcy, she told me that as soon as the meeting was over, she packed up the camera and left, totally unaware that any conflict was yet to take place. Sure enough, when I edited and burned the DVDs, the tape did end moments after the closing gavel went down.

There was, for a while, a lot of buzz about the incident, the possible taunts during the meeting, the arrest of Mr. Shaw and the fact that nobody got it on tape. I too wished I had been there but it was not to be.

I explained the whole situation to Bob Johnson. He then wanted to talk to Marcy himself and get the story directly from her. Before I hung up I told him that Comcast was there too and perhaps they have a tape. He told me he was heading over to their headquarters to do just that.

A couple days later I got a phone message from Bob Johnson. He said he talked to Marcy and she did indicate that she packed up the camera and left as soon as the meeting was over, BUT, he wanted to view our original tape himself just to be sure.

What? First of all is he calling us liars? Maybe, maybe not, who cares, but wait!

Bob Johnson was given a $1,000 fee (10 hours at $100 per hour) to investigate Lt. Johnsen by our Village Council. Let’s do the math. The July 25 council meeting is just over 40 minutes long. He drove out to Comcast and watched the video there = $100. He contacted Marcy once and me twice about our video = $50. He now wants to drive over to my house and watch our 40 minute video = $100. So for 25 percent of his allotted budget, he has been scrounging around for nonexistent information that had absolutely nothing to do with Lt. Johnsen’s conduct. I can only suspect that somebody must have told him that the mayor and his commissioners will soon be opening the money trough, so GO FOR IT! Or, he may have calculated what the village is spending to fire Sgt. Harder, so THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!

I did not return his call. There was no way I was going to let him spend more of our tax dollars on a fishing expedition.

On August 15, 2005, Amy Rita, Chair of the Police and Fire Commission, e-mailed me to purchase a copy of the July 25, 2005 council DVD. She said she was especially interested in the few minutes immediately after the meeting when the Shaw/Doolin conflict took place. I explained to her that it was not on the tape and therefore not on the DVD so she decided not to purchase it. At the time I thought her interest in it was odd, since her newspaper “The Forest Park Post” does not seem to print real news. Now with Lt. Steve Johnsen under investigation for this exact incident, I DO have to wonder what her intent was.

Steven Backman