Outrageous Assault On Freedom Of Press Taking Place In Bloomington, IL

Nora Dukowitz
Nora Dukowitz

On Friday Nora Dukowitz, the Communications Director for the city of Bloomington, IL had a local talk radio reporter Josh “Fistbump” Schmidgall served with a Restraining Order and is attempting to keep him and his employer The Cities 92.9 FM from asking questions of Ms. Dukowitz and the city.

Schimdgall and The Cities 92.9 have been attempting to get Ms. Dukowitz and the city of Bloomington to explain why a city employee was given a raise.

Those repeated request have been met with silence from City Hall and Ms. Dukowitz.

On Monday May 18th Schmidgall sent and email to Dukowitz again asking for information on or an explanation for the raise.  When Dukowitz didn’t respond to that email Schmidgall went to Dukowitz’s home and left his business card on the door when no one answered.

Ms. Dukowitz found that to be so harassing and intimidating that she filed for the restraining order and is seeking to have Mr. Schmidgall barred from both City Hall and her residents.

And to top it all off Ms. Dukowitz is also asking for a court to revoke Schmidgall’s Illinois Firearms Owner Identification Card, which is required in Illinois to even legally touch a firearm, and to have his skeet shooting shotgun confiscated.

Host and staff at The Cities 92.9 and Mr. Schmidgall find this whole episode to be a blatant assault on the Freedom of the Press and on the First Amendment rights of the station and Mr. Schmidgall.

The Cities 92.9 along with Tea Party blogger Diane Benjamin, who alerted me to this extremely troubling situation, are the only press in Bloomington that ask tough and/or probing questions of Mayor Tari Renner, City Hall staff, and the City Council, the rest of the media in Bloomington have a nasty habit of just going along with what they are told from city officials, no questions asked.

Dukowitz on Friday told the Bloomington-Normal Pantagraph that:

“Given my knowledge of his sometimes erratic behavior, I felt very uncomfortable and didn’t open the door. I called police and filed a report,” said Dukowitz. She said Schmidgall has come to her office without an appointment and recorded her without permission.

“This is not about me avoiding the press. A line has been crossed here,” she said.

Actually if the radio station and its reporter have been trying repeatedly for more than two weeks to get answers about the pay raise from Ms. Dukowitz and city hall and they haven’t been forth coming then Ms. Dukowitz most assuredly is avoiding the press.

On Friday Schmidgall said that he would fight this vigorously.

A hearing on the restraining order is scheduled for June 4th.