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Alderman's Record: A Transparency Issue or Dirty Politics?

Dan Soltysiak is the focus of scrutiny by newly formed Muskego political action committee, which says he didn't come clean on his previous "criminal transgressions'; Soltysiak maintains he was honest and has no criminal record.

A group called Stand Up Muskego, a newly formed political action committee, is circulating documents that call into question how forthright Alderman Dan Soltysiak has been on his previous involvement with police.

Including reports from an incident in 1997 involving a theft in New Berlin, and other charges in Brookfield, the group said in a letter sent to the local media:

"Dan Soltysiak has run his current campaign on the fact that Muskego government needs to be transparent and open in its dealings with the public it serves...When running for political office, it is imperative the public knows the full and true character of those people they may elect as their chosen governmental representative."

In an interview Wednesday, Soltysiak said the incidents, which date back to 1997 when he was in high school, have all been expunged or dismissed from his record. In addition, a theft charge was dismissed on appeal after he served the sentence in Waukesha County.

He said he did serve a 30-day work-release jail sentence for a charge of intentionally concealing merchandise held for resale when he was 19 — 13 years ago. However, he maintains that the campaign to exhume his record by Stand Up Muskego was a "red herring" and the documents outlining the misdemeanor charges were misleading because they were incomplete.

"I feel this is more about my vote on the lake park issue," said Soltysiak, who in January voted against the $3.55 million land purchase for .

"This is a non-issue. I have gone about my life the right way since this happened. I'm not sure why this didn't come up the first time I ran for office," he said. "The only difference between then and now is my stance on the lake park."

Soltysiak is finishing his first two-year term as the 5th District alderman and faces challenger John Engelhardt in the April 3 election.

The group, which lists Aaron Robertson as treasurer, maintained that its objective is "to provide true transparency to the political scene in Muskego."

In its letter, which was sent to newspapers, radio talk show hosts and other media outlets in Milwaukee, Stand Up Muskego included a reference to an incident in 2010 in which Soltysiak contacted police to report a habitual speeder in his neighborhood.

While the group claims Soltysiak chased the car with his own vehicle and presented a "ceremonial police badge" before calling Muskego police, the alderman refutes the account.

"I don't know where that came from, honestly," he said. "I called police first, and got in my car to locate the vehicle that came down the street because it had come close to a group of kids. When I did find the vehicle, it was empty. When the officer came on the scene, that is when the people first came to the vehicle. I did not speak to them prior to that."

As Soltysiak maintained, and Muskego Police Chief Paul Geiszler confirmed, no citation was issued to the alderman. However, the other driver received a written warning for failure to produce proof of insurance.

Rob Lucas, a member of Stand Up Muskego, told Patch on Wednesday that Soltysiak did not provide transparency on this incident or his prior run-ins with the law at a . He said he could not comment on why the information, which was obtained in February, was not brought forward until after the forum, but hoped the platform would have given the alderman a chance to "come clean" on his past.

At the forum, candidates were asked: "Should candidates providing information on previous criminal activity, and is there anything in your past?"

Soltysiak stated his answer to the question was honest, and did not differ from that of other candidates.

"I have no criminal record," he reiterated. "I answered that these things are online, and if there was anything that would preclude me from running for office, I wouldn't be here."

In the meantime, Soltysiak said he is going to remain focused on the issues of the campaign, stating "it's my values, principles and integrity that keep me from stooping to this level of destructive politics."

The Anti-Alinsky March 29, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Yiargo, not everybody has skeleton's in their closets. I have a few in mine. Nothing as bad as your buddy Dan, but nothing I would start bragging about. However, if I were to run for an elected office, and something came out, I would at least acknowledge my youthful mistakes and apologize. I have yet to hear Soltysiak accept any sort of ownership for his actions.
thomas l. ralston March 30, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Suzi, You have called me a thug, of attacking you anonymously, verbal assault, physical intimidation and you even tried to shame me by bringing up my "alledged personal traumas." Laughably, you even stated I was obsessed with you. On Sunday you claimed there were at least 5 witnesses to the so called "incident." Now theres 6 or more. What's your next number? This is what a judge will ask. Did I call you any names, threaten you or your property? Did I touch you? What about the table between you and me? Did I try to vault it to get at you? And how many of your so called "witnesses" are willing to perjure themselves on your behalf. Are they willing to side with you in court? I only take this tone because if you keep it up, you and them will be needing some real legal advice. I'm not going to put up with your smears any longer. Make sure to be honest with your witnesses and tell them they will have to pay for their own legal expenses when they get hauled into court along with you. Lawyers usually run $200 an hour and up. Are you going to tell them that no, they cant sue me back for their legal fees? When they find out its money out of their pocket, how many of them are going to be willing to pay to defend your baseless accusations against me? I have had enough of your lies. One more and you will be seeing me in court and all your accomplices too? I am not Heide Lindhorst. No fake lawsuit threats from me. Think I'm kidding? Try me!
Suzi Link March 30, 2012 at 04:16 PM
My apologies to the serious posters on this blog for Mr. Ralston's continuing "creative rants", I thought that this article was about current political campaigns. I hope that future posts will be 'on-topic'. Suzi
Muskego Business Owner April 02, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Dan's response is NOT forth coming...rather he diverts to point out that the records were accessible to anyone who wanted to look for them. That's like blaming his employer for shoplifting from them...well, they didn't tell me I couldn't take their merchandise without paying. (Or, like getting off on a technicality..."attempted" shoplifting is not a charge..you either shoplifted or you didn't..what crap). The point of the matter is that in the past we were a trusting community that took people at face value. If someone said they were honest and hard working, well than that was it. Unfortunately what Dan has taught the community is that if you are a good enough liar or thief you can pull the wool over trusting people's eyes. If Dan did not think this was an issue, why wasn't he forthcoming? Statistically speaking, if you are arrested once for STEALING, it isn't the first time; nor will it be your last. Stealing is like any other addictive illness...once a thief, always a thief, the tendency remains. However, if he runs for mayor, the up side will be that the police station is within the same parking lot as City Hall!! He won't have far to walk. PS...Heidi, clearly you know as little about the law, as you do about politics...you CANNOT be sued for libel or slander if you are expressing TRUTH...although, it does appear that dealing with actual FACTS does escape you. I guess it is YOU that should be thankful that there isn't a charge for STUPIDITY.
Matt Johnson April 02, 2012 at 02:21 PM
When I was younger, I worked as in Loss Prevention for a couple major retailers. I was involved in similiar situtations as Dan's on a few different ocassions. Dan was an employee. As such, he did not necessarily have to walk out of the store to be a "shoplifter." In the instances I was part of, the employee would be "apprehend" in the store and the police would be called. The way I read this is that he was charged with something that was not an actual crime in Wisconsin. It does not necessarily mean he did not do anything wrong and was later exonerated. I believe somewhere in the documents on SUM's website there is a letter of apology Dan sent to the store's management.

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