As the legendary Ricky Ricardo used to say, when John Jazwiec gets back from his trip to London in a couple of weeks, he's going to have "a whole lot of 'splainin' to do."
Jazwiec, who is the president of RedPrairie Corp. in the Town of Brookfield, lives with his family on Milwaukee's East Side.
The Milwaukee Police Department has launched an investigation after ... well, rather than try to describe it, I'm just going to paste here the text of an e-mail Jazwiec allegedly sent to many residents in his neighborhood and to Mayor Tom Barrett. The subject line of the e-mail that police are investigating says, "Taking Action," and the e-mail says it was sent from Jazwiec. Here's the text of the e-mail, dated Monday, Oct. 1:
"I am the resident that had an armed man walk in my house with a police badge. He held the my family (wife, myself, and two young daughters) hostage. We did not have any cash and had recently lost our debit cards. So I bargained with him to take computers and iphones to pawn. He left and thankfully we are safe. Because we were not sure it was not an inside job we did not dare go to police headquarters. The 3100 block of Marietta is not taking this standing down. We met Friday and agreed that we can't trust the mayor or the police. We instead are going to hire a private agency to walk our block. We will also be prominently showing signs on the block what we are doing it in lieu of a demanding a rebate on our taxes which by the way are going up 3.3%. Talk is cheap. This will get in the press I promise you. And our block is one that lazy criminals will just avoid. Anyone else want to 'outsource' beat control? Next step -- the de-annexation process and our large per capita tax revenues which we can then use to fund police, schools, and real paved roads.
President of Redprairie"
Rumors of the bizarre alleged incident spread throughout the East Side and eventually to the Milwaukee Police Department.
"We did try repeatedly to investigate. But he (Jazwiec) wouldn't cooperate," said Anne E. Schwartz, spokeswoman for the police department.
Jazwiec finally officially reported the incident to police by phone Tuesday, but then left town on his trip overseas, Schwartz said. Police plan to question him in depth when he returns, she said.
Concerns in the neighborhood prompted Milwaukee Ald. Michael D'Amato to send his own e-mail to his constituents. D'Amato chastised Jazwiec for not cooperating with police. Here's text from D'Amato's e-mail:
"There are serious questions as to the veracity of this report at this point. Apparently this gentleman (Jazwiec) was far more interested in contacting the press than he was the MPD. Crime is a serious concern to us all and is something the MPD, the Mayor and I take very seriously. While there has been an uptick in crime in our neighborhood over the past several months, the police have reacted with an increased presence and have made a number of arrests. Despite these incidents OUR NEIGHBORHOOD IS SAFE. DO NOT be afraid to walk outdoors and encourage others to join you. DO NOT lock yourselves in your home and call police immediately if you see something suspicious. Like you, I live in this neighborhood with my spouse and children. I will continue to walk the streets, bike to the store and enjoy the company of my friends on my porch. I'll also lock my door and warn my children to beware of strangers. Do not allow a single man with a remarkable story convince you that this is not a great, safe and united neighborhood."
Schwartz issued the following e-mail to concerned residents:
"Milwaukee Police have no evidence that an incident described by a resident in the 3100 block of N. Marietta has occurred. The resident has refused multiple attempts by Milwaukee Police to investigate the incident he is alleging. Milwaukee Police have attempted to contact this resident through his business, by telephone and by appearing in person at his residence as recently as today, October 2, 2007. Milwaukee Police can not investigate an incident that has not been reported to us. If residents in the area have safety concerns, they are encouraged to contact District 5 Community Liaison Officer Ray Robakowski (935-7258) or District 5 Captain Tony Smith (935-7250). Officer Robakowski can assist with the formation of a block watch and can provide information on any criminal activity that has been reported to police. The Milwaukee Police Department appreciates that we all want to live in safe neighborhoods and we commend the residents of this East Side neighborhood in their concern for each other. We also want to assure these residents that if a crime trend is developing in any particular neighborhood, we will provide them that information at the District community meetings."
A spokeswoman for RedPrairie said she could not comment on the incident. She said Jazwiec had departed for London Tuesday and was not available to comment.
In the past, Jazwiec has complained about the state's business climate and government. He first spoke voiced his criticisms as a keynote CEO panelist at the Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast in January 2006. To view a Web cast of that speech, visit www.biztimes.com/site/videos/sbtimes_et/jazwiec
Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes in Milwaukee and is past president of the Milwaukee Press Club. BizTimes provides news and operational insight for the owners and managers of privately held companies throughout southeastern Wisconsin.
Steve has won several journalism awards as a reporter, a columnist and an editor. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
When he is not pursuing the news, Steve enjoys spending time with his wife, Kristi, and their two sons, Justin and James. Steve can be reached at email@example.com.