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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."

thomas l. ralston March 26, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Suzi, in your earlier posts you made reference to my "alledged personal traumas" and how somebody asked you cut me some slack because I was a Viet Nam veteran. If your idea of cutting me some slack, is lying about me, calling me names and then claiming you had given me some type of credit which you wont do again then you and me have a totally different definition of the term. Why you chose to bring up something you called my "alledged personal traumas" is beyond me, but it sort of follows a pattern you seem to have. Blame everybody else for slimey politics when you are the name caller and false accuser. Since you did bring up Viet Nam and my "alledged personal traumas" I'll address it too. There is a name for what you so snidely referred to. It's called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. P.T.S.D. for short. If you felt you shame or silence me by calling it "alledged personal traumas", guess again. See, I got mine the old fashioned way, I earned it serving my country. There was a time when this country, when at war, people served. My grandfather did his time in the trenches of France in WWI. My father was in the South Pacific in WWII. My turn was Viet Nam. We all volunteered. I was 17 fresh out of high school. I was a Navy corpsman [medic] and the Marines get their corpsman from the Navy. I was trained at Great Lakes Naval Base and in North Carolina by the Marines. At nineteen in 1968, I was in Viet Nam. I served with a frontline rifle company. I need another post.
thomas l. ralston March 26, 2012 at 05:46 PM
A continuation for Suzi Link. When I was 19 I was trying to stay alive and keep my fellow Marines alive. My tour in Nam was not a vacation. No war is a picnic. My out from Viet Nam was when I contracted malaria. Almost killed me, but didn't. I was medically discharged because it left me with a blood disorder so severe, nobody can get a transfusion from me. Now, when Dan Soltysiak was nineteen, his efforts went into figuring out how to steal from his employer and then not owning up to it when directly asked. I dodged Communist bullets so you could enjoy freedom of speech and Dan could have a fair trial. Remember, "Truth, Justice and The American Way." I think this city can do better than "Deputy Dan" and you pulling strings from the background. I will continue to speak out and stand up to you. So Suzi, keep trying to disparage me and denigrate my service to my country, but I think your attacks on me says way more about your blind lust for power than anything else. If you really want to run the show, run for office. Millions of Americans have put their lives on the line for free and fair elections. I'll even sign your nomination papers. I wont vote for you though. Not unless you do a 180 on your vision for the city, give up on all the name calling and stop dealing in falsehoods. Can a leopard change its spots? Run for something and we'll find out. And please, feel free to answer any of my politely asked questions. Me and the rest of the grownups are waiting.
thomas l. ralston March 26, 2012 at 05:56 PM
I would like to apologize for the typos, missed or extra words in my previous posts. Continuity of thought and two finger typing are not my stong points. I will try to better in the future. I thank you for your patience and understanding. Tom Ralston
Marguerite Ingold March 26, 2012 at 07:27 PM
"Took the money and ran " is just what it sounds like, though some of them didn't bother to run. One of the advantages of growing old beside having good memories, is we get harder to insult. Re:Slander: the word "slander" was used several times in the referred to conversation as my witnesses will attest to. Glad it didn't go any further
Mike Hunt March 26, 2012 at 10:38 PM
"The whole argument that it's not the mistake but the way he responded to it is a false argument. It was an invasion of his privacy to have done this, one that threatens his political career, his family and maybe his job." Two things here: 1) This isn't an invasion of privacy. It's all public record for anyone to see. We're not talking about the man's health history here. We're talking about run-ins with the police, etc. 2) If he can't be open and honest about this past to voters, then, quite frankly, he doesn't deserve a political career.
Simple Bacon March 26, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Sure Mike, it's information that's out in the public domain though there is some dispute about juvenile records being accessed.If I wanted to know a person's background very little money will get me a whole lot of information. But what does it say about their fitness to serve in office? I wonder if we should require a candidate to submit a credit report as well. That can be extremely telling about their day to day behavior. Maybe a person should have to run an ad / public notice that lists all infractions in their lifetime and have a minimum credit score of 800. Would that make a person qualified to serve in office? Again, could Soltysiak have handled it differently? Sure - I guess. But, in my opinion it was in the end embarrasing information about a guy who seems to have done alright since his run-ins with the law and maybe he figured it wasn't relevant enough to disclose. Then when an obviously politically motivated question was posed and he was given 30 seconds to respond he stumbled. Big deal. Honestly I'm more concerned with our current administration being honest about what they are doing while in office.
Suzi Link March 26, 2012 at 10:58 PM
To Mr. Ralston My, my, haven’t you had a busy day? First and formost, I have NOTHING BUT RESPECT FOR ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY AND VETERANS FROM ALL CAMPAIGNS. I lost family in both WWII and Korea, and a boyfriend in Nam. That is a large part of the reason I did not file a police report at the time of your verbal assault(a decision I am starting to regret.) Lets see. In the past 24 hours or so, you have posted: 1. “get the rest of your flock” (what flock??) 2. “Are you feeling that carefully crafted plans to take over city may be falling apart? (say what?) 3. “Are you you succumbing to fits of white rage” (not at all, are you?) 4. Link and Borgman “sue the city for your alledged flood damage losses?” (I assure you that there was nothing “alleged” about raw sewage shooting 2 ½ feel up out of our basement floor drain for over 20 hours—particularly the ‘recognizable solids”) 5. “when you found out there was a 5 thousand dollar limit, that you and your husband both filed lawsuits against the city so you could double your take of "their money.". (I already answered this one, but, as my spouse and I had opted-out of Wisc. Marital property laws, we had separate losses. For the record…it is OUR money, not THEIR money. We never expected to be made whole—the PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE LAWSUITS IS TO FORCE THE CITY TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR STORMWATER/SANITARY SEWER MAINS IN OUR AREA.) 6. “Or are you frothing” (no, but it sounds like you are)
Suzi Link March 27, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Part 2 7. “Blame everybody else for slimey politics when you are the name caller and false accuser.” (Sorry, but without firsthand knowledge, I felt it inappropriate to be more specific regarding the “trauma”. Your description is consistent with what I was told the night of the verbal assault--fact not “false”. Since neither of us is running for office, “slimey politics” makes no sense) 8. “If you felt you shame or silence me by calling it "alledged personal traumas", guess again.” (That was never my intent—I was trying to indicate that, if not for a very real trauma induced during your service to OUR country, you probably would have ended up talking to the police that night. I don’t usually tolerate unprovoked attacks by total strangers.) 9. “you pulling strings from the background.” (Wow! I must be ‘all-powerfull! NOT! Further, I DO NOTHING IN THE BACKGROUND.) 10. “I think your attacks on me says way more about your blind lust for power than anything else.” (It is scarey/funny if you really believe that drivel. Who helps you write this stuff? ) 11. “give up on all the name calling and stop dealing in falsehoods…. Run for something and we'll find out.” (I have held both elected and appointed offices in Muskego. Also, I’m not the one name-calling…re-read YOUR OWN posts)
Suzi Link March 27, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Part 3 Out of deference to the legitimate readers and posters on this blog, I will TRY to ignore your progressively more outlandish accusations in the future. Not only would this help all concerned to stay “one topic” but, frankly, YOUR OBSESSION WITH ME is becoming an unacceptable and serious concern.
thomas l. ralston March 27, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Since you didn't say where you lived, why dont you throw Dan a "moving party" and have him become mayor of your town?
Yiargo GG March 27, 2012 at 03:02 PM
I was friends with Dan throughout high school until he was 21. We both went to New Berlin West and I nearly fell on the floor when I found out he was elected Alderman in Muskego after thinking he fell of the face of the earth for nearly ten years. He is a good man and although he did crazy and menacing things to neighborhoods and at school he seems like he's changed for the better. I hope people see him for who he is now and not the guy that would make CO2 bombs and blow up mailboxes, drive to highway 100 and pick fights for his friends to beat up other kids, follow police cars to harrass officers like he felt they harrassed him, deliberately bully and humiliate classmates, call police for underage drinking parties on ourselves with apple juice because they broke up our party the night before, steal from cars and threaten all authority when confronted. He was a ring leader of what most would consider a group of thugs and bad people. Although I joined him in all these activities even though I mostly watched I grew up and Dan has as well. People could've made a couple calls to their neighbors in New Berlin and found out this and much more the first election, but instead they didn't and he's done a great job. Dan should be re-elected!
thomas l. ralston March 28, 2012 at 02:11 PM
I see this post was changed. It used to say Dan should be mayor. When I suggested that Dan should be mayor wherever this person lives, the post got edited. Could it be you want the people of Muskego to be stuck with him as mayor, but the idea that he should be your mayor is unacceptable? Why is that? A few more questions. You said, you had been out of touch with with Dan for ten years, but he's all grown up and a good man now. How would you know what he is like, not being in touch with him for that length of time? Have you seen his driving record over the last ten years? Why dont you ask him how many points he has left on his drivers license? After you check that out, share with us why you still feel that Dan has matured. Ask him why he earned the title, "Deputy Dan"? Lastly, what happens to Muskego if Dan decides to revisit the "glory years" of his youth? Does my mailbox get blown up? Please, please consider asking him move closer to you. Our loss would be your gain.
Yiargo GG March 28, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Dan has a horrible past but everyone has skeletons in thier closet. He has proven he can hold this position and be productive. Anyone that believes he doesn't have the 5th district and Muskego's best interests because of stuff he did 10 years ago is extremely ignorant.
thomas l. ralston March 28, 2012 at 07:00 PM
What a tired cliche. Everyone does not have the skeletons to the degree "Deputy Dan" does, if at all. Your excuses for him are an insult to the parents who raise responsible children and the kids who learned to be productive citizens early in life. You seem to have alot invested in trying to clean up his image. Why? Reread what you said about him. Is that all you know about him or are willing to cop to? What else has he done that you or anybody else doesn't know? You still seem to be a follower. And I am not ignorant about Dan. I point blank asked him if he had ever been arrested. Want to guess his answer? I used to be a Federal Correctional Officer. I saw plenty of convicts doing hard time. Want to guess how many of them claimed they were innocent of everything? Know who has the best chance of not reoffending? The ones who admit their mistakes and take full responsibilty. Dan's statement that he has "no crimminal record" tells you where he is really at on his path to rehabilltation. Finally, its not what he did ten years ago. It's his actions now that count. Chasing after cars in a residentail neighborhood, flashing a badge so he could detain someone and not being honest about his past is today's issue. The 5th District needs an honest,mature representative. Dan falls way short!
Yiargo GG March 28, 2012 at 07:40 PM
So now he tries to stop speeders that could kill kids in the district. Wow! Great point. Like the law states he doesn't have a criminal record it was cleared by a lawyer that everyone in this country is entitled to. He responded with the truth. If this is such a big issue where we're you when he was elected 2 years ago? Now that's he's done good things for the district including going above and beyond to stop speeding in neighborhoods he shouldn't be elected? Yeah makes sense.
Yiargo GG March 28, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Do the criminals you work with have an expunged record? Doubt it so yes you are ignorant. People can learn from their mistakes and take the responsibility required. He nor anyone else that has changed for the better should be constantly reminded of things they did 10 years ago. God forgives you must be above him.
Yiargo GG March 28, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Dan for Mayor!!!
thomas l. ralston March 28, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Wow, youv'e gotten sort of prickly over some of my questions. Sure you aren't channeling with Suzi? F. Y. I. Dan was elected alderman. He is not a police officer. Why do we pay for well trained, professional law enforcement? Are we supposed to let Dan chase down whoever he thinks is a speeder? What if had he had runover some kid? Was the neighborhood safer with two speeding vechicles? I heard that two police cars had to be dispatched to break up some near altercation he had with the other driver. What if those officers and squads were needed somewhere else in the city? I dont want my tax dollars going to clean up a mess caused by Dan's viliglante tactics. What's next? Dan appoints himself to the S.W.A.T. team? What if he gets himself an extra long garden hose? Will we be dealing with a "Fireman Dan" next? I am tired of Dan"s defense that "if the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit." Just because it got O.J. off I dont think that "Deputy Dan" is entiled to a free pass.
Interested Party March 28, 2012 at 09:44 PM
I keep reading the drivel posted by Suzi Link and I have been pushed to the point where I have to comment. Suzi, you have frequently asked on posts why people do not use their real names. I will give you a perfect example of why they don't. You have repeatedly accused Mr. Ralston of "verbally assaulting and physically intimidating" you. You color the truth and threaten individuals when they have the audacity to challenge you. I was at the public meeting on the lake park and viewed the so called "verbal assault" upon you. There was no verbal assault. Mr. Ralston disagreed with you, simple as that. Heaven forbid that someone would disagree with you, in public. Now I believe that Mr. Ralston can easily defend himself from your scurrilous charges. I think you owe him a heartfelt apology. If you are going to put yourself and your thoughts into the public arena and not expect that someone is going to disagree with you maybe you should just keep your mouth shut and stay home.
Yiargo GG March 28, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Key word you use in your rediculous "what if" response is "I heard." You know what that equates to is a bunch of rumors that get better each time they get told. You clearly have some dumb vendeta against a good alderman that cares about his district and city. Therefore, go on with your rediculous assumptions and no fact ignorance. You should run for his spot since you are the pillar of sainthood.
The Anti-Alinsky March 28, 2012 at 10:40 PM
If you want to find the report, I will only hint that it was posted by Stand Up Muskego
The Anti-Alinsky March 28, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Yiargo, Soltysiak does not have an expunged record. The judgement was vacated because there is no ATTEMPTED shoplifting. Under Wisconsin law there is no such thing as ATTEMPTED shoplifting. Once you walk out the door with unpaid merchandise you have committed a crime. Prior to that you haven't. Soltysiak was caught before he even left the backroom. Look at the report. It's not hard to find on the web. Just as importantly, is his ego so big that he didn't think that this would be found out? Why did he not have a good answer? He thought people would see the judgement was vacated as some sort of vindication. It has just seemed to raise more questions. Sounds like Deputy Dan doesn't operate very well on either side of the law.
thomas l. ralston March 29, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Dear Yiargo, me a saint? Hardly. I am not however, politically speaking, trying to pass off "pink slime" as prime rib. And I am not dealing in rumors, either. I spoke to one of the responding officers about "Deputy Dans" little incident. See, Muskego is a small town and tongues will wag. The "Night has a Thousand Eyes" is a song title you should always remember. A bit of checking and the truth comes out. I have Iived in Muskego 36 years, I've seen the good and bad come and go. Ask anyone what they want most in their elected officials and honesty will be at the top of the list. Dan failed a simple, basic test. Seems he retreated to an earlier version of himself and now we are left to wonder where his next character failing will leave the city. I dont want to find out if he cant control himself and revert to his old habits. From the descriptions you provided, you and him had quite an alarming history of crimminal activity. Messing with the cops is a very serious issue, no matter how young were. Chasing after someone is another sign of bullying. He still seems to lack self control. Does he have a diploma from an anger management class? And why should he be trusted? Just because you say, so? You haven't been in contact with him for ten years. How do you know what he's been invovled in? There an old line for writers. Show, dont tell. Elected officials should do the same. Dan hasn't shown enough character to be reelected. Maybe, he never had it in the first place.
Yiargo GG March 29, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Dan for mayor!
Suzi Link March 29, 2012 at 05:51 AM
To Interested Party I sincerely doubt that you were present for the verbal assault unless you posess magical powers of concealment. I have 6 witnesses (not counting the member of the Country Club staff who came out to investigate the yelling). We were standing in a group when Mr. Ralston and another person came around the corner, saw me and started to yell. There was no "disagreement". You cannot have a "disagreement" without having any exchange of opinions. I have differences of opinions with various people on various topics without resorting to yelling and physical intimidation. (Face it, an able-bodied man against a woman in a wheelchair is hardly a 'fair' fight.) To his credit, the person who joined Mr. Ralston in the verbal assault at the Country Club HAS ALREADY PUBLICLY ACKNOWLEDGED HIS PART IN THE VERBAL ASSAULT AND HAS PUBLIC APPOLGIZED FOR HIS ACTIONS THAT EVENING IN A FORMAL BLOG POSTING. Mr. Ralston still denies that any such event occured. Right now, that makes the score 7 or 8 to 1. I completely agree that an apology is in order, but believe that you are grossly misinformed on who should man-up and take responsibility.
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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