By Nancy Zettler
Paul Serwatka is the kind of politician that gives other politicians a bad name. He claims to fight for transparency in politics at the same time that he’s desperately trying to stay one step ahead of his own troubling legal history.
Serwatka has a history of legal issues dating back decades; a history that flies in the face of his carefully orchestrated, noble, tax-fighter image. This history includes arrests for violent acts and theft, lawsuits for personal injuries, deceptive practices and collection actions. There is so much to choose from, it’s hard to decide where to start, so we’re going with the time he shot a guy.
Serwatka shot Jason Burke on December 23, 1999
“He walks into the bedroom and pulls a .38 out of the dresser,
and he starts pointing the gun at my chest and clicking the gun. “
Anyone who has been in politics in McHenry County the past few years has received a packet from a former friend of Serwatka’s named Jason Burke. Burke is a former friend of Serwatka’s because Serwatka shot him and then refused to call 911 to take him to the hospital, instead, driving Burke to the hospital and then dropping him off a block away from the hospital because he didn’t want to get in trouble.
The following is an interview with Jason Burke printed in a local missive called the McHenry Times, on March 1, 2016.
“Burke said he and Serwatka had been friends and neighbors for 16 years when Serwatka showed up at Burke’s house on Christmas Eve and told him to get into his truck so the two could go to Serwatka’s house to exchange gifts.
“So we exchanged gifts,” Burke told the McHenry Times. “He walks into the bedroom and pulls a .38 out of the dresser, and he starts pointing the gun at my chest and clicking the gun. The gun didn’t go off, thank God, but I told him, “You know what? Stop playing games, Paul; take me home. Because, you know what, now it is getting serious.”
‘Burke said Serwatka told him not to worry and that he was only messing with Burke. Burke, however, did not find the humor in his friend’s antics and told Serwatka that his behavior was unacceptable.’
‘Burke said Serwatka then put the .38 away and walked into the kitchen and opened up a gym bag.
“He calls me into the kitchen and says, “Wait Jay, wait! Before you go home, I’ve got something else to show you,” Burke said. “He pulls out the .22 caliber out of the gym bag and says, ‘Don’t worry, Jason, the gun’s not loaded.’ He starts clicking the gun; the gun went off and hit me in the side.”
Burke said he didn’t realize he had been shot until he looked down after Serwatka began to apologize.
“There was like a dot there and it went through and it stopped on the other side, “Burke said. “I told him, “Take me to the hospital.’ So what he did, he panicked. He said, ‘I am going to take you to my girlfriend’s dad’s house first because he is a police officer, and I want to see what he says about this first.’”
Burke said he insisted Serwatka take him to a hospital. Burke said that after driving around the block a few times, Serwatka offered to pay his wounded friend $2,000 as well as cover his hospital bills. He allegedly asked Burke not to say anything because he feared he would lose his girlfriend and his job as a firefighter.
“He was so worried about himself instead of me.” Burke said. “So then he took me a block from the hospital and pushed me out of the truck, made me walk a block to the hospital with a gunshot wound in my stomach,” Burke said.” Paul Serwatka’s former friend recounts the day House candidate shot him, McHenry Times, March 1, 2016.
Burke later sued Serwatka for intentional assault and the two later settled the case.
But that wasn’t Serwatka’s only act of violence. He was also arrested for mob action and punching a cop. People vs. Paul Serwatka, Cook County 89249813
More recently, on July 30, 2016, Com Ed reported Serwatka to Lakewood police for threatening a Com Ed employee. Lakewood Police report #16-000910
Theft, deceptive practices and breach of contract.
In addition to shooting friends, punching cops and threatening Com Ed employees, Serwatka has a history of theft and financial malfeasance.
In 1991, Serwatka was arrested for stealing a snow mobile. Chicago Police Dept. Report 91-259228.
In 1996, Serwatka was found guilty of deceptive practices when he purchased a boat and stopped payment on a check he wrote for down payment on the boat the day he took possession of the boat. GSI v Serwatka 95 M4 2664. Order entered on 2/14/96.
In 2014, Serwatka was sued for breach of contract for almost $15,000. Portfolio v Serwatka, 14 M1 132479
I addition, he has two collection actions currently pending against him in Cook County. One from 2016 and one from earlier this year. https://courtlink.lexisnexis.com/cookcounty/FindDock.aspx?NCase=&SearchType=2&Database=1&case_no=&Year=&div=&caseno=&PLtype=2&sname=Paul+Serwatka&CDate=
Claims that he owns property in Lakewood and pays property taxes there.
Serwatka claims that he owns the home in Lakewood that he lives in, but McHenry County records tell a different story.
Serwatka did buy the Lakewood home located at 9811 Palmer Dr, with another person, named Branko Dragojlovich (not his wife) in February of 2012. However, a year later, in April of 2013, Serwatka gave up his interest in the house to Dragojlovich. Per county records, at this time, Serwatka owns no property in Lakewood, or anywhere in McHenry County for that matter. There is also no evidence that he pays property taxes.
No, Paul Serwatka is not giving up his “salary” as a Lakewood Trustee. He isn’t paid a salary, he’s paid an expense stipend and gets a check for less than $100 per month.
Like most of the new generation of “Republicans” trying to break into McHenry County politics, Serwatka’s “platform” is heavy on promises of “honesty and transparency”. In fact Serwatka claims that as Lakewood trustee he’s “shedding light on, and exposing, many of the otherwise “secret” and unpublicized actions of the Lakewood Village Board”. https://www.lakewoodtaxfighter.com/issues-transparency. Unfortunately for Lakewood voters, he hasn’t been so good about “shedding light on, and exposing, many of the otherwise “secret” and unpublicized actions” of his own. Add hypocrite to the list of Serwatka’s many concerning issues.
Editor’s Note: Candidate Serwatka also demanded that we produce the source of Jason Burke’s statements as set out in the our article. As stated in the article, Burke was interviewed by the McHenry Times in March of 2016. We simply reprinted the portions of the McHenry Times article, with attribution. But for Serwatka’s sake we will post the entire article here.
It should be noted that very shortly after the McHenry Times articled was published on March 1, 2016, Serwatka withdrew from the primary race for the Republican nomination. Serwatka was well aware of the McHenry Times article at the time that it was published last year.
Editor’s Note: Yesterday afternoon Paul Serwatka contacted GPI on our Facebook page and stated:
“I have no arrest record. I have no criminal record. I have no criminal charges against me from any time in my life.
Nancy knows this. She has Chicago Police and State Police records showing exactly this.
Show me that I do and I will resign from office immediately.”
Well, here they are. You’ve been arrested twice and charged three times, that we are aware of. Are you now going to resign from your current position with the Village? And will you withdraw from the race?