Libertyville District 128 school board member, secretary indicted on perjury charges

A longtime school board member and an administrative secretary in Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 have been indicted on perjury charges stemming from documents filed ahead of April's election, Lake County authorities said Wednesday.

Board member Ellen Mauer, 52, faces four counts of perjury, a felony punishable by a maximum two to five years in prison.

Mauer, who also serves as principal at Spaulding School in Gurnee, referred questions Wednesday to her attorney, Lawrence Laluzerne. He was not immediately available for comment.

Denise Zwit, assistant to Superintendent Prentiss Lea, faces three counts of perjury, said Cynthia Vargas of the Lake County states attorney's office. Zwit, 65, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

They are accused of making false statements under oath about the collection of nominating petition signatures for the April 4 school board election, Vargas said. Mauer won her fourth term in the election, receiving the most votes of five candidates.

District 128 spokeswoman Mary Todoric said the district is not commenting on the indictments because they are legal matters.

School board President Patrick Groody also declined to comment.

Libertyville resident Tim Anderson, a frequent critic of the District 128 school board and administration, said he raised questions about the petitions with the state's attorney's office back in January.

Anderson said he noticed inconsistencies in the documents and brought them to authorities' attention. He said Wednesday he is disappointed the indictment didn't come before the election.

"It was a no-brainer," he said. "I'm miffed it took this long."

Authorities issued $25,000 arrest warrants for both Mauer and Zwit. It's not yet clear when they will appear in court, Vargas said.

This marks the second time this year a Lake County grand jury has brought perjury charges revolving around nominating petitions.

In February, former Lake County Coroner Dr. Thomas Rudd was indicted on five counts of perjury alleging he swore to the validity of petition signatures he knew were false.

Headquartered in Vernon Hills, District 128 educates more than 3,000 students at Libertyville High School and Vernon Hills High School. It serves all or parts of Libertyville, Vernon Hills, Green Oaks, Rondout, Mundelein, Mettawa and surrounding unincorporated areas.

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