Ex-clerk says Des Plaines alderman's arrest prompted her to run for council seat

A Des Plaines alderman's recent drunken-driving arrest inspired a former city clerk to challenge him in the upcoming municipal election.

"Elected officials should be held to higher standards," candidate Gloria Ludwig said of 1st Ward Alderman Mark Lysakowski, who was arrested last month in Mount Prospect.

Ludwig is running a write-in campaign against Lysakowski in the April 6 election. Lysakowski is the only candidate who will be on the ballot for the post.

Lysakowski, 47, did not respond to calls and emails seeking comment.

He was arrested about 2 a.m. Jan. 18 after a traffic stop on Main Street near Gregory Street in Mount Prospect. An officer stopped Lysakowski's SUV after seeing the vehicle repeatedly weave between lanes and drive in a median lane, according to the police report.

The officer reported Lysakowski had bloodshot and glassy eyes, had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, slurred and mumbled his words and had difficulty opening his wallet.

Lysakowski told the officer he'd consumed two beers before driving, the report states. He also showed the officer an envelope that revealed his name and political title before his arrest, according to the report.

Lysakowski refused to submit to field sobriety testing or give a breath sample for analysis, the report said. Upon arrest, Lysakowski was belligerent to police, the report indicated.

The Daily Herald requested copies of any police videos of Lysakowski's traffic stop and arrest, but the department denied the request, saying publication of such videos could taint a jury pool and deny Lysakowski a fair trial or an impartial hearing.

He is charged with driving under the influence, improper lane usage and failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.

Lysakowski was released on a personal recognizance bond and is scheduled to appear in the Rolling Meadows courthouse on March 8.

When asked about Lysakowski's arrest, city spokeswoman Jennie Vana declined to comment. Mayor Matthew Bogusz didn't respond to interview requests.

Lysakowski first was elected in 2017 and is seeking a second term. He leads the council's public safety committee and sits on the community services and building code committee.

Ludwig said she initially considered running for alderman in December but decided not to file for a spot on the ballot. She said she changed her mind after Lysakowski's arrest.

"If not now, when? And if not me, whom?" Ludwig said. "I just felt that this was the time to do it."

Ludwig hasn't called for Lysakowski's resignation.

"It's his choice how he decides to handle the situation," she said. "I'm not going to make a judgment on that."

Ludwig, 68, served as clerk from 2009 to 2017. She had to step down because of term limits in Des Plaines.

Ludwig unsuccessfully ran for Maine Township clerk in 2017.

Contested races for mayor, clerk, 3rd Ward alderman, 5th ward alderman and 7th Ward alderman also will be on the ballot in Des Plaines.

Des Plaines 1st Ward aldermanic candidate Gloria Ludwig and Alderman Mark Lysakowski.
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