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October 07, 2006

Schwigen and Huff, Part III

In Schwigen and Huff, Part II, I tried steering the conversation onto those topics of that should be of import in the sheriff's race.

That was pretty much a total failure. Whatever bits of truth may have slipped in, it's mostly been garbage.

I'm particularly irritated by the re-appearing bit of flotsam that suggests Kraig Schwigen "started the mud-slinging." The evidence offered is a press conference at which he said Mike Huff once drew a gun on a fellow officer.

Folks, that's not mud-slinging. That's making a public a fact that each and every voter has a right to know as he or she weighs Mr. Huff in the balance.

Mr. Huff says the incident occurred more than 20 years ago and was "horse-play", without adding detail.

One assumes Mr. Huff has matured in the interim; nevertheless each individual voter is legitimately entitled to know about the incident and to give it whatever import they want to on Election Day.

Each voter also is legitimately entitled to know the set of facts in three 3rd Disgtrict Appellate Court rulings issued in a complex legal proceeding sparked by an attempt to fire Mr. Huff in 1995.

The county merit commission, the circuit court, the state labor board and the Fraternal Order of Police all played roles before the matter was concluded more than five years later. Mr. Huff was re-instated as a deputy, but was suspended and demoted.

I won't charactize the facts in any fashion. Read them for yourself, and give them whatever weight you will.

Appellate Court ruling, February, 1998

Appellate Court ruling, August, 1997

Appellate Court ruling, July 2000

There also are circuit court rulings, along with merit commission and labor board decisions. I may have missed an appellate ruling; I'm assuming someone will let me know if I did.

An alert to commenters -- facts are welcome here, opinions reasonably related to facts are welcome and, of course, real names are welcome. But the garbage is going.

Damn me as a censor all you want.


An addendum: The Schweign/Huff forum scheduled for Monday night in Rock Island is off. Don't know the ins-and-outs of that, but it's disappointing.

Posted by jcb at October 7, 2006 01:12 AM


The cases in their entirety are at Mr. Huff’s web site, www.votehuff.com, link to Labor News. The D/A reports that Mr. Schwigen does not agree to forums with guidelines. Mr. Beydler would you provide your definition of mud slinging, as I disagree that raising the very old gun situation is currently relevant to issue minded voters? Thank you.

Posted by: Proud voter at October 7, 2006 02:36 AM

It just makes me wonder why Huff backed out so close to the debate. He knew about the debate and probably knew that he was going to have certain request, so why wait so late. Was that so he did not have to debate and it would get cancelled. Thats why I prefer Schwigen. Thanks

Posted by: Anonymous at October 7, 2006 09:03 AM

Proud voter -- Mr. Huff's website has links to several cases not related to his dismissal, but which involve other officers or jailers; the rulings are highly critical of Sheriff Mike Grchan's labor practices.

What is missing from the list is the Appellate Court ruling from February of 1998 which sustained the suspension and demotion of Mr. Huff.

The D/A story about the debate cancellation does NOT say that "Mr. Schwigen does not agree to forums with guidelines." Just the opposite, as a matter of fact. Mr. Schwigen is quoted as saying, "I told Rev. McAdams (who was arranging the forum) that if he approved of the guidelines, then I approved of the guidelines."

Asserting, as you do, that a news story says exactly the opposite of what it does, comes close to mud-slinging.

We'll have to disagree on whether pulling a gun of a fellow officer is relevant to issue-minded voters, even if it is far in the past. Some voters will decide that that Mr. Huff's conduct in the intervening years does indeed render the old incident irrelevant; others will see it differently.

Posted by: jcb at October 7, 2006 12:49 PM

Interesting. Multiple links to Mr. Huff’s cases and none to Mr. Schwigen’s cases. Please go to case 1995L48 on the Rock Island County Circuit Court web site. Pay particular attention to date entries of 09/16/1997 and 09/22/1997. Ms. Lisa Schwigen, unfortunately passed away on 1-3-95. He filed suit on 2-24-95. His current wife filed for divorce on 4-21-95, from her former husband Sgt. Bruce Bush, (Retired). The D/A reported on 10-1-97 that, “Before the trial began Sept. 22, Mr. Schwigen withdrew his individual claim in the lawsuit, after learning evidence of his remarriage this spring would be introduced. According to court records, he was concerned the jury would view the remarriage negatively and reduce any potential award to his minor sons.” All of these public record are available at Qconline.com.

Posted by: Factual friend at October 7, 2006 02:46 PM

You said "The D/A story about the debate cancellation does NOT say that "Mr. Schwigen does not agree to forums with guidelines." Just the opposite, as a matter of fact. Mr. Schwigen is quoted as saying, "I told Rev. McAdams (who was arranging the forum) that if he approved of the guidelines, then I approved of the guidelines."

That tells me that the party responsible for cancelling the debate is Rev. McAdams. Schwigen could have bothered to read them and get back to them as well. Apparently Huff was the only one prepared if he was thinking ahead and supplied guidelines to keep the debate on subject and not become some disorganized, mud-slinging venture. Let me ask you, if you were Huff and some guy was going to every paper and TV station trying to get his 15 minutes of fame by bashing you every time he had a chance, would you want to be a part of a debate without rules? I don't see where the debate would be informative or productive that way. I commend Huff for being the only one concerned about it being organized and informative to the voters.

Posted by: anonymous at October 7, 2006 06:13 PM

This race is just another reson we need a vigorous and viable third party.

Posted by: camp_pain at October 7, 2006 07:00 PM

Factual friend -- actually, other than the D/A story, none of the information to which you refer is available at qconline.com, though you can finda link to the circuit clerk's office in the the "government" section of the qcwebsites directory.

Posted by: jcb at October 7, 2006 07:30 PM

Dear jcb. By searching under each of the names, in the archives the information is readily available at qconline.

Posted by: Anonymous at October 7, 2006 07:54 PM

I found this on qconline under an article and this is what was posted:
The lawsuit is a matter of public record and anyone can look it up online. Here is how to find it:
1) Go to www.judici.com
2) go to "participating courts"
3) click on "Rock Island County"
4) under "circuit clerks links" click on "court records search"
5) click on "search"
6) under name insert "Schwigen" and click search
7) go to case number "1995L48" and click "history"

Why not put a link to this court case as well? Seems only fair to truly inform the voters.

Posted by: voter at October 7, 2006 09:05 PM

My point is to Huff, Why did you wait so long to put your request in, besides knowing that it would cancel it.

Posted by: Anonymous at October 7, 2006 10:26 PM

Voter at 09:05 PM -- The address info you list was posted on 'Schwigen and Huff Part II' long ago, as you surely know.

Posted by: jcb at October 8, 2006 06:48 PM

This race needs a "none of the above".

I didn't really care about this race, but slightly preferred Huff. But not anymore. I can't believe how low Huff supporters will stoop. It's disgusting and seems a bit desperate.

Posted by: Ick at October 9, 2006 07:25 AM

Ick: The one that is desperate is Schwigen. Why do you think he has been doing a negative campaign and hasn't given the voters much info about himself? You want to elect a guy that has no education in administration and will fit the job of sheriff in around his subdivision developments when we pay him $85,000. No thanks! I'll take a guy who's loyal to his career in law enforcement and wants positive change for all.

Posted by: Me at October 9, 2006 11:21 AM

To me: It appears that the Huff camp is the one that is getting desperate. They cant find anything wrong with Lt. Schwigen's professional career to discredit him as being qualified, so they resort to the same old "he builds houses and develops subdivisions." Now they have stooped so low as to try to discredit him with the wrongful death lawsuit in reference to his deceased wife. Come on is this the best they have. I would have to say looking at what Lt. Schwigen has done on the sheriff's Department and holding the position's he has held as well as achieving the rank of Lt. surely makes him more qualified then Sgt. Huff who has only achieved the rank of patrol Sgt. As a sergeant you are considered middle management. He basically enforces the policies and procedures set forth by upper management I.E... Lt and above. As far as a college education is concerned, I have seen many people hired on police departments who have had college degree's that were the biggest block heads around. That piece of paper only means something if you use the knowledge you gained, not just to barely get by so you can say you have a college degree. I would have to say Sgt. Huff is the one with no "real life" education in administration. The sheriff's Department surely has a multi-million dollar budget. Who would you feel more comfortable with handling that budget? A guy who has never had a part in that budget and had to take out a loan to fund his campaign (Huff) during the last election and probably had to do the same for this one, or a guy who has been involved in budgeting and obviously has done well for himself in his personal finances. I think I'll take the experience of Lt. schwigen every day of the week and twice on sunday.

Posted by: anonymous at October 9, 2006 03:01 PM

I suppose it is easier to fund your campaign when Lt. and Capt. Fisher go to your fundraiser. I'm sure the Huff camp would prefer to take out a loan than to have that connection.

Posted by: anonymous at October 10, 2006 08:30 AM

Schwigen loaned himself $15,000 to start his campaign. look on his d-2. Huff doesn't need to discredit Schwigen because he is not running that kind of campaign. Schwigen does a good job of that himself. He always contridicts himself. That is why he shouldn't talk to the media. He is quoted in one media source saying he is going to do something and the quoted in an other source saying he is not going to do that same thing. Which is it? He is too wishy-washy.

What are the rest of Schwigen's qualifications other than sucking his way to Lt..

Posted by: Anonymous at October 10, 2006 08:49 AM

Pardon the expression, but ”what a cop out.” You never intended to have a debate Sgt. Huff, at anytime. Your perception has been “ What the public doesn’t know, they don’t need to know” .In reality; your true colors have been exposed right from the horse’s mouth.
It’s a shame that you can’t even answer “soft ball” questions without dictating the questions to be asked .For those of us that don’t know anything positive about your background, you have left us in limbo and now we must accept all of the facts being circulated about your past performance in the sheriff’s department and private life.
You really blew it. What we don’t need is another Grchens in the sheriff’s office, but your mannerisms are a perfect match. He taught you so I suppose it only fitting that you carry on with his tradition.

Posted by: Citizen for better government at October 10, 2006 01:28 PM

After reading the continuous blogs submitted by people who have no insight into the inner workings of the Rock Island County Sheriff's Department, I felt it was time to write. As a 15+ year veteran of the department I can tell you that much of the "mudslinging" each camp has directed towards the other has been "common knowledge" to the men and women of the Sheriff's Department for many many years. References to affairs, abuse of sick leave, gunslinging, and favoritism on the part of both canidates have been known by all of us for quite some time. Unfortunately, this has been the topic of debate in almost every article that I have read. I truly believe a positive change is needed for the department, who ever that might be. I can only hope that each canidate will spend the next four weeks till the election addressing the ISSUES, not continued "mudslinging", or we as an agency are no better off than before.

Posted by: R.I. Deputy at October 10, 2006 06:53 PM

To Citizen for a better government: Your comments are almost laughable concerning Mike Huff and compairing him to the likes of Grchan. That is one of the farthest things from the truth I have seen in this comment section. You need to take a look in your front yard and you will see the sign for the Grchan Clone.

Posted by: Orchard Court at October 10, 2006 08:09 PM

Mr. Schwigen. Choose between your business and the job of sheriff now, so voters know you will not keep both as sheriff. Bob Dole gave up the Senate during his run to show the voters he was serious. You need to completely abstain from any connection to the development company. Mr. Grchan has long been known as a part-time sheriff and voters don’t like it. He gets paid for full-time. I am far from alone in thinking this is a deal breaker for you!

Posted by: Anonymous at October 11, 2006 01:11 AM

Well said R.I.Deputy, now if we could only get both candidates to do this.

Posted by: Anonymous at October 11, 2006 12:11 PM

Why on earth should Schigen not have other interests - please don't tell me that we expect a sheriff to be on the job from 6:00 am until midnight - 7 -days a week?

Many people in all walks of life work a 40-50 hour week and have other interests on the side.

I think that it is wonderful that Mr. Schwigen is enterprising enough to have outside interests/ business. Aren't we looking for energetic, outside-the-box thinkers in government?

Posted by: Anonymous at October 11, 2006 02:41 PM

John - we have not had a look at the Hare-Zinga race for a while. Can you submit a post on this?

I am interetsed to see what people think of the fact that everyne seems to have an outside power coming in to promote their candidacy -

Hare - Obama
Haring - Edgar
Whalen - everyone
Zinga - no one.


Posted by: Anonymous at October 11, 2006 02:46 PM

Anonymous 2:41-
Schwigen should not have a time consuming, demanding (not interest) but rather a full-time job to do while the tax payers pay him $85,000. I'm sure any other land developer would take offense at the notion his job was just something he does when he had time to squeeze it in. I'm sure the people that are buying lots in those subdivisions would prefer that Schwigen do his job and pay attention to that since they are paying good money to invest in those projects. It's simple, no one could do both jobs effectively and give 100% effort to both all of the time. I'm sure the citizens of RI County would be on the losing end if his attention needed to go to the development to ensure his personal profits. We are paying a sheriff to put his total attention to Rock Island County and the citizens he would serve. Sheriff is a demanding job or at least is supposed to be, that's why we haven't had the current sheriff do a better job. Grchan has been a part-time sheriff for too long. Schwigen would do the same and have an Under Sheriff run the dept. much like Grchan. I don't want to have a sheriff that pre-occupies himself with his money making ventures instead of having his head in the game and putting 100% time, attention, energy and effort into the position that is so important to all citizens in our county. Schwigen would be a terrible choice for our county. We need positive change, not the guy the Grchan and Fisher mentored to continue the corruption.

Posted by: Me at October 12, 2006 10:46 AM

Hey ME, dont you think that Schwigen has other help with his business. Do you think that maybe his wife helps with the decisions in the business. Its not like he owns a restaurant and has to work there by himself and also be Sheriff. You can have employees that make decisions for you.

Posted by: Anonymous at October 12, 2006 11:42 AM

Anonymous 11:42-
Schwigen probably is counting on having other employees making decisions for him at the Sheriff's Dept., that's my point. He may have some help with his development business, but you can't tell me that the wife is running the show. The fact is, the tax payers don't want to pay someone $85,000 and not have that person be completely loyal to the sheriff's positon and his duties. The development is all about money and you can't run a Sheriff's Dept. as a money maker. Mr. Schwigen also had two previous businesses fail, but you don't see him mentioning that do you? I think it's unfair that Schwigen helped target other deputies for having their own business and it wasn't good enough that they had their wives helping with their business. Why would he go after other deputies when he was allowed to do the same exact thing he was "investigating" others for? Schwigen operates on a complete double standard. We don't need to chance our future with someone like him.

Posted by: Me at October 12, 2006 07:28 PM

OK. Name the businesses that failed, or do just make this crap up as you go. Does the nickname snake mean anything to you?

Posted by: what? at October 12, 2006 10:25 PM

Good comment Me. Now, please name the businesses that did fail so we're all in the know like you. Don't believe schwigen would be involved in anything below the board. When you play you pay and apparently you got caught, got what you deserved and now it's sour apples. Grow up. You people are an embarrassment to yourselves and your children

Posted by: jury at October 12, 2006 10:30 PM

Why don't you get the file of the deputy that had that business as well. Was that business being run properly and did he do everything correct in the departments policies and procedures when he had this business. Why don't you go look into that for me.

Posted by: Anonymous at October 12, 2006 10:36 PM

In response to failed businesses. I believe one was a video rental business and the other had to deal with carpentry (cabinet business?). Yeah, they both failed.

Posted by: Anonymous at October 12, 2006 11:28 PM

I remember a case like that down at the sheriff dept and probably know who you're talking about. There were lots of issues from what was said and the SD was getting involved because of some complaints. Let's be honest here. That business went under right after he left the SD so its not like it was a thriving business.

Posted by: anon at October 13, 2006 06:56 AM

If you want to be honest then we need to get real honest. Grchan and Fisher targeted the deputy for years and over a period of time they called him in several times to do an "internal investigation". Schwigen was more than happy to help them ruin the guy. In the "Times" article Schwigen was quoted as saying, show me a deputy or firefighter that hasn't worked part-time jobs outside the dept. to support his family. That's all that deputy was doing too. I guess it's only allowed if you're in the exclusive group. The internals consisted of what he was doing for his business(ie:sales, purchasing, etc.). One by one they told him he couldn't do sales, then he couldn't do purchasing and so on. He had a profitable business until they systematically ruined it for him. Is it that hard to understand why it failed? It's easy to understand that without the ability to sell and purchase items for the business you quickly don't have a business. Which brings us back to the original post of why was Schwigen helping "investigate" someone for having a business when he was allowed to do the same? That's quite a conflict. Again, double standard as long as Schwigen got what he wanted from them. The term "snake" means something there.

Posted by: Me at October 13, 2006 09:04 AM

Me...When you do business you actually have to deliver the goods that were paid not cheap glasses and clothing other than the color promised. YOU should get your facts correct or quit posting comments. I have bought cabinets off of Schwigen in years past. The business did not go under. It is now based out of Iowa and is run by another associate. My cousin was a partner in the video business and it was closed 15++ years ago due to the boom of DVD's being sold in stores and recording of shows/movies at home. FACTS are what you are lacking, integrity and honesty too

Posted by: jury at October 13, 2006 04:09 PM

So what you are saying "jury" is that the business "FAILED". Exactly the point! Doesn't matter what excuse you give or the actual reason like the one posted above about the other guy, like having a retalitory administration ruin it for you. Fact is Schwigen's business failed.

Posted by: Anonymous at October 13, 2006 05:06 PM

jury - Thats funny that it closed 15++ years ago due to DVDs booming. DVDs were not even available to the public until 1996, first introduced in Japan. Just wanted you to have the facts before making another comment.

Posted by: Anonymous at October 14, 2006 12:17 AM

I was considering who to vote for sheriff when I received a pathetic mailer from schwegen. I was raised Republican and my relatives’ work at the Arsenal. In the past they have thought that Republicans were best for military. I am fed up with the mismanagement and think I will vote Democrat in general. The Governor race is still an issue for me. I was appalled by schwegen’s mail today. It was distasteful, juvenile and made reference to trust from the officers, but no references were given for the statement. After reading a little bit I realized that this was a distant past issue. Wrong choices are made in everyone’s life. I half expected a politician to lie about it, but Huff didn’t. I don’t care for many of the comments I am reading, but HONESTY is high in my book. And slander is very low. Not one comment about what Schwegen will do for the voters was in his mail. He even quoted himself as a source. The more I type, the more I think I will vote for the entire Democratic slate.

Posted by: Giving up on the GOP at October 26, 2006 01:48 AM

I too received that mailer and thought it was the most ridiculous thing I have seen in any election. His mailer quoted himself and his campaign manager, Ed Cox. No bias there! Perhaps the two of them should have concentrated more on issues instead of drawing cartoons. I'm tired of his hostile, slanderous campaigning and would never vote for anyone with that type of personality. I can see the lawsuit line forming from employees if he were sheriff. He is apparently so desperate that he will go to any lengths and that is a huge red flag for voters. I don't want someone in office that is desperate for the job. I want someone who is campaigning professionally and with the right motives. Schwigen is not an option for sheriff. He is a very vindictive person that has an extremely abusive nature. Great candidate the republicans have.

Posted by: Alice at October 26, 2006 09:05 AM

I recieved the same mailer as the above individuals did. First of all, It appeared as if it was completed by a ten year old child. For Schwigen to say this is or was a serious issue, it seems that he makes it a joke in this mailer. I percieved it to be very distastful and it turned me off. This truly reflects the level of integrity this Schigen guy has. Sad that someone had to send something so poorly thought and designed. I'm sorry but my vote was probably for Huff to begin with but now there is no doubt it is for Huff.

Posted by: Terry from EM at October 26, 2006 06:41 PM

My finall post here is that bypassing all of the garbage spread, I place my vote for Huff. One reason is that he is a democrat. Two is that atleast he did not start the smear campaign. Three is that I liked what Mike Huff has said he is going to do to change the Sheriff's Dept. for the better. Schwigen has not done that at all. Four is that I met Huff, and he seemed to be a genuine person who cares about others. That is why I suggest to all if you have not already voted, Vote for Mike Huff for Sheriff. He will make a difference!

Posted by: Finall comment at November 1, 2006 01:30 PM

First to Mike Huff, Congrats, even though I didn't vote for you. To the Huff supporter that was so concerned of the internet polls that showed Huff 80% to Schwigen 20%. Just goes to show you that there are more people out than just you internet geeks.

Posted by: Oh Well at November 7, 2006 10:26 PM