City Council panel OKs $375,000 for woman claiming cop was involved in conspiracy to frame her
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org June 22, 2012 2:30PM
Updated: July 24, 2012 9:50AM
A woman in a bitter divorce and custody battle who was framed by her ex-husband in a conspiracy allegedly involving a Chicago Police officer will receive $375,000, under a settlement advanced Friday by a City Council committee.
The settlement approved by the Finance Committee stems from a lawsuit filed by Sylwia Marinczyk of Crystal Lake that accused Chicago Police Officer Slawomir Plewa of false arrest and malicious prosecution.
The alleged frame-up occurred on April 1, 2007. Marinczyk’s estranged husband had allegedly planted a handgun and large quantities of cocaine and marijuana in Marinczyk’s car.
The estranged husband, Bogdan Mazur, then lured Marinczyk to Chicago’s Northwest Side under the guise that Mazur’s car had broken down and he needed to be picked up, along with the couple’s two young children, who were with their father.
By framing his ex-wife, Mazur hoped to have Marinczyk deported, gain full custody of the couple’s two young children and take control of the family’s health care business.
Officer Plewa and fellow members of his tactical team made the arrest. Plewa testified that he was tipped about the drugs and weapons by an anonymous informant on the day of the arrest. The tactical officer insisted he was unaware of the connection between Marinczyk and Mazur.
“However evidence shows that Mazur and two friends met with Officer Plewa weeks before the incident and cell phone records show numerous calls between Mazur and Plewa prior to the arrest date, further bolstering the plaintiffs claims of conspiracy,” First Deputy Corporation Counsel Leslie Darling said Friday.
“Plewa also allegedly did nothing to identify his informant or verify his information.”
Although Marinczyk was “completely innocent” of the charges against her, she spent nearly two weeks in jail, racked up $34,000 in legal bills, lost business profits and endured nearly a year of legal uncertainty.
“She went to trial, was acquitted of all charges. Her record has now been expunged completely of this incident,” Darling said.
The $375,000 settlement is down from an initial demand of $1.25 million. Mazur plead guilty to filing a false police report and was sentenced to one year in prison in September, 2010.
“Based on the evidence in the case, Officer Plewa would likely be found liable,” even though he was acquitted of perjury and official misconduct charges because of a “defect” in the charges, Darling told aldermen.
Noting that the $375,000 compensation was “strongly recommended” by the trial judge, Darling said, “This cost-effective settlement is a 70 percent reduction of the original demand and also limits the city’s liability exposure from damages and attorney’s fees.”
Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th) said details of the case “sounds like an episode from `Law and Order.’
Burke questioned why Officer Plewa was still on the job, albeit on desk duty, pending an investigation by the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division.
“One would think, since the case dates back to 2007, that there could have been a resolution of the matter and a decision whether or not to seek separation by now,” Burke said.
The full City Council is expected to sign off on the settlement next week.