Serwatka Thwarted in Effort to Oust Two Trustees, Moving to Alabama

The meeting room at Lakewood’s RedTail Golf Club was packed for Tuesday night’s meeting.

Lakewood Village President Paul Serwatka was unsuccessful in attempt to push two appointed Trustees off the Board and replace them with two other men.

Name plates were removed from appointed Trustees Jason McMahon and Patrick Rexroat’s places.

Village Attorney Michael Smoron delivered the bad news to Serwatka before the meeting got underway, but not before the name tags of Jason McMahon and Patrick Rexroat had been removed and their names not called on the roll.

Village Attorney Michael Smoron delivers his opinion that Village President Paul Serwatka cannot remove appointed Village Trustees.

Senior Trustee Carl Davis pointed out for the record that the two uncalled Trustees were in their seats.

Village Clerk Jan Hansen replaces the name plates for the appointed Trustees that Village President Paul Serwatka sought to oust and replace.

Michael Smoron

Smoron said that the only reasons for removal of village board members were

  1. conviction of a felony
  2. no”t being a resident
  3. owing the municipality money

“Am I aware of any grounds to remove any Trustee at this time?

“No,” the Village Attorney said.

“Well, I don’t know how to proceed right now,” Serwatka stated, suggesting that the board recess.

Serwatka expressed his frustration at not being able to obtain a written opinion on whether the law cited by Smoron or the one he was relying upon was superior.

Paul Serwatka

“Nobody wants to put anything in writing,” Serwatka said.

He complained that “what he’s saying now is not what he said to me.”

“You liar,” yelled an audience member.

“I’ve had the same opinion and haven’t changed it,” Smoron replied.

“I’ve been through a similar [situation].  I explored [the question] with regard to another village with regards to remove a mayor [believed to be in Hebron, where he is also the Village Attorney].

Continuing in his inquiry, Serwatka asked again whether an officer who has been appointed could be removed.

“No,” Smoron replied again.

The audience applauded loudly.

“I accept that,” Serwatka said.

The Attorney suggested moving forward with the agenda items not referring to the appointment of Trustees.

Lakewood agenda items referring to the appointment of Trustees which were ignored.

Public Comment was then allowed.

Cheryl Lockwood, a regular meeting attendee, chastised those present “just when you’re having temper tantrums.

“Don’t just come when your temper is running.”

Gene Fuery

“What you did was wrong,” former Trustee and Treasurer Gene Fuery said.

“Are you leaving town?

“When are you going to resign?”

Realtor Carol Hoefer hearkened back to the RedTail Golf Club purchase:

“A lot of people didn’t like RedTail, but none of us yelled.”

Alice Burnett wondered how vehicle stickers could be eliminated and property taxes cut 10% and village services be rendered.

“I’m pretty sure we don’t want to be another Algonquin Township,” Vern Haggarty said.

George Mueller pointed out that McMahon and Rexroat disagreed with Serwatka.

“Other than disagreeing with you, what did they do?

“You’re no Kim Jong Un.”

“This isn’t Paul’s private company,” Tom Winfield added.

“If he doesn’t like you or what you do, he fires you.”

A woman noted, “You house has been totally dark for two weeks in a row.”

A support of Serwatka shouted, “He’s on vacation.”

Serwatka invited the woman to stop over that night.

Then came the show stopper.

Jessica Hawryluke

Jessica Hawryluke, whose used the same day care center as the Serwatkas, reported the following:

“You told me the last day or pre-school [My Father’s World at Prince of Peach Lutheran Church] you were moving to Alabama.

“Your wife said you were going somewhere where there are looser laws.”

“I’m going to be moving in July,’ Serwatka revealed.

Hawryluke asked, “What are you fighting?”

“Because it’s the right thing to do,” Serwatka replied.

The Board went on to take no action of a Prevailing Wage Ordinance..

Lakewood Village Officials.

During comments by those at the dais, Rexroat said, “I want to thank the residents for coming today.

“It’s good to see Lakewood come out and support what’s right, not manipulation of the statute.

McMahon echoed his fellow appointed Trustee’s thoughts.


Serwatka Thwarted in Effort to Oust Two Trustees, Moving to Alabama — 43 Comments

  1. Serwatka is such an embarrassment.

    What do all of his supporters have to say now?

  2. Cal, I too was at this meeting.

    You need to invest in a recorder.

    You often have a very distorted recollection of what was said.

    This is no exception.

  3. Very interesting meeting tonight.

    I still would have liked to see how the current board would have voted if the 2 were removed.

    It would be nice to know who needs to be removed next election

  4. I will also say it was interesting when Jessica confronted Paul about him and his wife telling her that they were moving and that Paul was trying to figure out how to step down.

    Well Paul really choose one hell of a way to try and step down from our small community.

  5. I think everyone knew he could NOT remove a trustee except him.

    I would love to hear his thought on this.

    We knew we could not remove our Village president in Hebron.

    Who is the Senior Trustee there?

    If Paul moves out of the Village the Senior Trustee fills in until the board can appoint one.

    This could be interesting.

  6. Anyone who considers the conversations of anonymous posters as a representation of our community, hasn’t caught Paul’s puppets on this blog.

    Lima Bean, and many other made up aliases to make it appear as though there is a community conversation that doesn’t exist.

    If you want to hear what real, verified residents think and you’re a Lakewood resident yourself, head on over to the Facebook group ‘Village of Lakewood, IL Local News & Politics’.

    Real people, real opinions.

  7. The amazing thing here is that if you are the Village President and are contemplating doing something like this, don’t you call the village attorney up and find out if it is legal or not?

    This is what people get when they don’t find out more about someone before they elect him to an important position and just believe the slogans they put out.

    There were many signs in his background that were publicized at the beginning of his state rep campaign. He dropped out right before they would have been more widely disseminated.

    Now he is “moving to Alabama where the laws are looser”.

    Maybe someone should warn them.

  8. “Serwatka invited the woman to stop over that night”. Sunshine blogger, there is a lot to laugh about on this story, but this is something you definitely need to investigate thoroughly. Stay tuned…tic, tock, tic, tock, tic, tock, meow, meow, meeeeeoooooowwwwwwwww…

  9. “Carpentersville repeals resolution making English its official language. A decade-old resolution designating English as the official language of Carpentersville was repealed by the village board Tuesday in a move Village President John Skillman says is long overdue”. Sunshine blogger, aware of how sensitive you are to local issues pertaining to the acceptance of immigrants, it seems appropriate to bring this story that recently took place in the nearby town of Carpentersville and you inadvertently missed. Yeah right…tic, tock, tic, tock, tic, tock…

  10. Good for you Lakewood folks.

    You are standing up to a true thug/bully who can’t work in a cooperative environment, who acts like a child when he doesn’t get his way; runs from decisions; does not respect the laws of the land.

    Lastly, a cal supported unAmerican like so many of his endorsements.

    Run Serwatka run. Loser.

  11. Is anyone really shocked this is how Paul’s term will come to an end.

    In absolute chaos. For all of the Gasser supporters (if there any left.)

    This is exactly how Andy’s term as road commissioner will come to an end.

    With some sort of chaotic showdown and then he will move to Mississippi for good.

    Thanks Cal for helping promote these 2 morons.

    Great track record of your handpicked candidates you have going.

  12. Lima, Cal is a Fox news and Trump person, he doesn’t have to get facts straight!

  13. I think you have to give Cal credit on this one.

    Even though he backed PDS in the beginning, he was way ahead of the NWH which also gave similar account of last night’s meeting.

    The broader question, however, is what this does to the anti property tax movement in McHenry County.

    People are rightly concerned about the high property taxes in Illinois and understandably follow the first pied piper who comes along promising to do something about it at the local level.

    However, rather than squeeze local governments to the breaking point, or focus on the county just because it collects the taxes levied by others, maybe people should start looking at the root causes, those being the state which is not funding education as it should, and local school districts which voters have been ignoring.

    That is 70% of your property tax bill folks.

  14. I love it when irresponsible tax fighters run for office. As soon as they can, they run from office…tic, tock, tic, tock, tic, tock, meow, meow, meeeeeoooooooowwwwwwwww…

  15. Unfortunately, a wall is not sufficient to keep racist and bigoted statements from fedup from being exposed on the internet.

  16. Village Atty confirms, the nice thing about hobbies, is you can’t get fired from them.

  17. Serwatka did call the Village Attorney, but apparently misunderstood him.

    He explained he also sought advice from other private attorneys, as well as from the Attorney General. He was told by the AG, that only a State’s Attorney could request an opinion and by the SA that he could only ask on behalf of county officials.

    You cab hear what he said on the audio of the meeting, assuming it is on the village web site as it has been for past meetings.

  18. I admit to not being able to write as fast as some people talk.

    Fortunately, there should be a recording on the Village web site.

  19. If you want to pay a couple of hundred dollars each year for library access, you can do that now without forcing the rest of us to do so.

  20. A smart person would have had the village attorneys legal opinion in writing before he/she went rogue and made the village look like a bunch of goobers.

    Trying to remove people via Gmail and no official letterhead was 100% dysfunctional.

    Who needs Shakespeare when you have this drama?

    All that glitters is not gold

  21. “No you can’t” doesn’t sound anything like “Yes you can”.

  22. This is a bad look for Serwatka and it certainly tarnishes his legacy, which up to this point seemed pretty good.

    I don’t understand how/why he could have possibly thought this would go over well.

    Why would it be difficult to proceed either?

    Simply don’t make a motion on the item of removing the two trustees or on appointing the replacements, and deal with other issues on the agenda. For a guy who complains about despots, and a guy who speaks favorably of limited government and rule of law,

    it’s disappointing and a bit surprising to see him do this.

    Any chance that Serwatka was going to be appointed to State Rep or State Senate is dead now.

    After these shenanigans, he wouldn’t be able to get elected in November.

  23. American – it was dead any way. You must be a Republican and he publicly stated that he cut all ties to the Republican Party.. He was always really a Libertarian. A total Rand Paul guy.

  24. An American, perhaps.. just perhaps… Serwatka is less concerned with “how things look” or public perception, and more concerned with cutting out a cancer that is seeking to metastisize.

    I would submit that many are viewing this from a politician perspective, however, a true statesman doesn’t concern or measure him/herself by public opinion, or set policy/make decisions based on the next election, but rather acts based on what he/she believes to be the right thing to do for those he represents.

    It’s called public virtue.

    Paul explained that village counsel would not render an opinion because their was no case law and because language in the code pertaining to this specific issue was silent.

    Village counsel referred him to the AG for such opinion. And the AG had none. If this issues was so “cut and dry” why would the attorney not readily render a written opinion?

    Absent an attorney stepping up and giving a formal written opinion, a politician may take the easy road and bow out.

    But, a statesman, who was dealing with a such a cancer, just might step up and take action to prevent it’s spreading.

    Kudos to you Paul!

  25. This whole thing shows how important it is that people move up the political ladder where they can be observed in practice instead of jumping out to the top positions right out of the box.

    We have seen this at the state and national levels as well.

    People whose only experience is in the business world are accustomed to ordering others around and doing what they please.

    Politics and government work very differently.

    They are collaborative processes.

    You have to be able to work with people but at the same time be assertive enough to get your agenda across.

    It’s a tough balancing act.

    Paul just wanted to be dictator.

    It doesn’t usually work.

  26. The most telling moment was when Paul spoke to a resident who expressed concern about the fact that he was attempting to get a written legal opinion.

    Paul’s response, which was absolutely correct, was that you seek a written legal opinion to help defend your position in the case of a lawsuit – in this case, to protect the village.

    Yet somewhere along the line when he was unable to get ANY ONE of the “many” attorneys he consulted to draft such a letter, he didn’t come to the logical conclusion that he should not proceed.

    You don’t have the letter, you don’t have the protection, you don’t continue.


    Avoiding the evidence when it gets in the way of your agenda is a recipe for disaster.

  27. No Paul (Lima Bean) Serwatka.

    First of all the village attorney said at the meeting that he had “always” been of the opinion that an appointed trustee cannot be removed from office absent the statutory criteria in the Election Code.

    Second, even if he had indicated some doubt at the time, a “Statesman” does NOT charge ahead and subject the village to lawsuits and other potential liabilities (voidable contracts, etc.) unless the legal situation IS clear.

    That is the OPPOSITE of “statesmanship”.

    Third, whoever wrote that post is privy to information that only Paul and the village attorney would know, so…..

    What was the rush here?

    Oh yea, you were clearing out of town and wanted to stack the board before you left.

    Very statesmanlike.

  28. The first comment said it all. Lakewood should start the process to annex into crystal lake before this village implodes. Next should be the proper vetting and investigation into the hiring of the redta golf pro that replaced Chris. His second chance at handling public funds after being charged and/or convicted of a public trust crime is not a risk offset by any measure of golf expertise.

  29. 2017 tax rate for our previous home in Crystal Lake – 10.699%

    2017 tax rate for our current home in Lakewood – 10.304%

    For this reason and many more, no thank you.

  30. Lol Jen – are you aware of the vastly increased services that would be provided to us (Lakewood) with an annexation?? For one thing we (on the East side) would once again have access to the CL storm drainage system!

    Lower taxes would be nice but social services and protection is even nicer.

    We would also gain access to greater purchasing power, Library, TORA, etc…

  31. The good news is that more residents are starting to understand why Serwatka was putting so many allegations and working to create a narrative that I was somehow anti-Lakewood instead of being honest that we simply disagreed on policy although I only voted no once, it was an ongoing personal attack. Serwatka quickly lost support of 2 original tax fighter trustees and lost Trustee Rexroat shortly after he was appointed. We, like many of residents, were taken in by Serwatka’s claim of transparency and you all should remember the “3 P’s” which he swore did not represent his agenda. Somehow, 1 of those P’s, the need for POWER got the best of him. No vision, no true honesty to anyone other than possibly 1 trustee and no commitment to the Village. Seeing the board in action once a month or reading what is sometimes slanted articles about a meeting would never allow you to see the level of disrespect and condescension this board president has for the residents at large. Carl Davis, Amy Odom, Pat Rexroat and Jason McMahon care sincere about the longevity and well being of Lakewood. Be cautious of others brought forth by this board President.

    Simple questions that were asked numerous times but never answered. Questions like:

    Why didn’t the board or the residents know about CAO Smith’s removal from Prairie Grove

    Why wouldn’t Serwatka explain why the police had to be called on him when he decided to show up unannounced at the prior Village CAO’s residence at 11PM?

    Why was there no discussion regarding increasing the financial return and potential improvement of Red Tail, only Phil Stefan’s proposal, which was not actually voted on, was given consideration and what determination was made to justify the money spent?

    And there are many more but hopefully will be moot points soon.

    Lakewood will come together again but only when you have a President and board who explore possibilities instead of the current situation where voices are not heard or respected.

  32. Valid points Clarence – and certainly worth considering. Personally, the library and TORA are not a priority for me but acknowledge that’s not the case for all.
    The storm drainage issue is certainly one on which I need to learn more.
    That said, we moved here in part to live in a smaller community where our voice could be heard. Being one voice of 4000 gives me much greater control than being one of 44,000. I’d wonder if our issues would be of any priority to City Council and also what negative changes could happen in our village.
    I’m also not sure the residents of CL are interested in taking us on.
    I’m not one for turning over control – I think we are better off managing our own village and being more mindful of who we are putting in power.
    We also have to be willing to make investments in the long term ‘health’ of the village and its residents and not focus on short term tax cuts.

  33. LimaBeans,
    Perhaps, just perhaps… you are bat sh*t crazy.

  34. Yes. One of the things that Lakewood should consider is that it’s storm drainage system is approaching 100 years old and needs replacement. The whole village is essentially a reclaimed wetland and Mother Nature has a way of taking it all back.

  35. Funny that Paul chose “Lima Beans” as an alias. Trying to dump his latest failed endeavor on the Village Attorney is laughable.
    Hey bean boy, how do you sell a house you don’t own?
    I think beans are representative of your IQ.

  36. For those who are concerned about the “in writing” part that Paul is attempting to blame for his latest failed attempt to quiet opposing ideas, it is in writing.

    And easily found in the IL statutes should someone care to take about 15 minutes of their lives to confirm they have grounds.

    This is unfortunate because Paul is a fighter but 3 of the 4 of us who aligned ourselves with Paul found out too late that his promise of collaboration and insuring that the covering up of decisions and details, that he often accused the last administration of doing, was at an end.

    We believed him but found out after the election that he didn’t want collaboration, he wanted blind votes on whatever he wanted to do.

    The covering up that Paul has attempted to do and has done for so many things in his short term is scary.

    All is at an end.

    As I started, this is unfortunate but positive for the Village.

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