Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau is “off the rails on a crazy train”
Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau went on a name calling rant filled with lies and falsehoods, attacking critics who have demanded that he be accountable in his 2023 State of the Village Speech. It was hosted by the Orland Park Chamber of Commerce. Instead of focusing on Pekau’s sales tax hike or his new utility tax on residents — taxes that harm businesses and residents — the Chamber cheered Pekau’s false political claims without even a peep, never questioning the oppressive tax hikes that will burden Orland Park property owners. The smoke and mirrors attacks are intended to distract voters form Pekau’s tax hikes and poor management and make him look like the “victim.”
By Ray Hanania
When I watched Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau’s “State of the Village” presentation coordinated with the Orland Park Chamber of Commerce May 24, I expected him to roll up his sleeves and take on the outrageous increases in assessments that have slammed Orland Park homes and businesses.
Homeowners received notices from Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi increasing their property assessments by as much as 30 or 40 percent, all in one year. It’s the highest property assessment increase seen in decades. And those hikes mean massive increase in your property taxes which are going up as much as $1,000 to $3,000 more a year.
I thought maybe Mayor Pekau would set aside his usual conduct of personal attacks, vitriol and hate against his political critics and explain to us why he is hiking taxes, raising the Village Sales Tax one-half cent and imposing a new utility tax.
Pekau’s actions will cost homeowners thousands in new taxes at a time when the village should be cutting back on costs. The economy is rocky, inflation has raised retail costs, while Kaegi’s property tax increases will make life unbearable for many, especially seniors on limited incomes.
Worse is the failure of the Orland Chamber to speak out against these tax increase. Well, the Chamber president Ramzi Hassan has received huge consulting contracts from Pekau.
But instead of a responsible State of the Village address, Pekau went on a 90-minute unhinged rant viciously attacking critics trying to hold him accountable, like me, and spreading lies and falsehoods to deflect the public away from his taxes and poor leadership.
Pekau spent much of his 90-minute talk at the chamber hosted event attacking me personally. And chamber President Razmi Hassan let it happen.
Wow! I’m more important than Pekau’s millions in new taxes?
Pekau has been on an insane personal and political bender these past several years because he hates criticism, which is intended to hold him accountable. Instead, with the complicity of a Chamber that has lost its mandate to lead local businesses, Pekau reigned over what looked like a scene from the movie “Lord of the Flies.”
Pekau’s personal attacks have been going on now on for several years. Last week Pekau asserted in his recent eNewsletter the Village lost $31 million on the Orland Park Triangle development. He blamed that on his predecessors, although Pekau has been in complete control for the past four years.
Pekau said you won’t hear solutions to the village’s problems from me, just more criticism. Pekau is the elected mayor who controls the rubber stamp village board. They are paid by our tax dollars to come up with the solutions. But he can’t. So he blames everyone else.
My job is to point out when elected officials like Pekau go “off the rails on a crazy train,” to quote Ozzy Ozbourne. Elected officials are supposed to be held accountable, and should provide facts and information, not spew innuendo, name calling, slander, libel and vicious personal attacks against people as Pekau has and continues to do.
Pekau spent the better part of his 90-minute assault re-playing ugly robocalls he claims were made by his critics, falsely pointing at me.
Those robocalls are so ludicrous and out-of-bounds, so personal and disgusting, you have to wonder, what sane person would make them or believe they might help in an election? Worse is why a mayor would even share the content of those robocalls which apparently had so little exposure until now.
I have absolutely NOTHING to do with them, and never heard any of them before, until Pekau showcased them at his “sad fishing” State of the Circus speech, which was hosted by a Chamber that has shamefully lost its purpose and is being exploited by a paid Pekau political minion.
Why would Pekau play those disgusting alleged robocalls if voters had already heard them in past elections? Maybe the question is, did voters really hear them, or are they fake? How many people actually received these so-called robocalls? I never received them. It’s Pekau playing them for the public to hear. So who’s promoting them?
Pekau probably has done more to publicize these ugly robocalls than the original authors of the robocalls, if in fact they are real. (There are robocalls of all sorts, but these were particularly disgustng.)
“Sad fishing” is when politicians make themselves appear to be victims, to build up public sympathy for themselves. Pekau wants voters to feel sorry for him, and to not ask tough questions like, “why are you raising taxes”
Pekau wants you to think this is all about him (poor guy), not about the taxpayers who will pay millions more in taxes because of his tax hikes. Pekau has made so many lies, you can’t put it past him that he might be partly behind some or all of these distasteful, disgusting robocalls.
He said I submitted FOIAs to the village. Yes I did. (He also FOIA’d me several times, too.)
He said I criticized his wife, his family, former Police Chief Tim McCarthy, or the Orland Park Police? I absolutely have not. It’s a despicable Pekau lie, again made to distract the public from the real issues like holding him accountable for his massive tax hikes.
I DID put a spotlight ONE TIME on something vicious his wife, Betty, posted on social media in the last election. On a popular public social media board, Pekau’s wife told the son of former Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman that his mother was a “bitch.” Pekau’s wife then challenged Gorman’s honesty, saying “Honest my butt.” Her below-the-belt attack is the very kind of mudslinging Pekau claims is out of bounds in an election, but pretends didn’t happen.
The May 24 “State of the Village” political circus is truly a low point in Orland Park history.
Worse is the Chamber’s silence on the many tax hikes. How many more contracts does Hassan have with Pekau? I could FOIA the Village but he’ll attack me asserting it is unjustified to ask. By the way, when members of the public — the taxpayers — FOIA the village, why is Pekau interfering in the FOIA process?
Instead, Pekau sent an expensive mailer boasting he is cutting costs, eliminating the vehicle stickers which is a negligible savings in comparison to the tax hikes. Not one word about the tax increase, which is very deceitful to taxpayers.
The cost of a senior vehicle tag is $10 every TWO YEARS, or $5 a year. The Pekau sales tax hike and his utilities tax could cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars a year. And yet, Pekau spent all that money on a mailer to woo you because he saved you Five Bucks. Woo hoo!
Do I admire Liz Gorman? Yes, I do. Unlike Pekau, Gorman fought for the rights of taxpayers when she was at the Cook County Board of commissioners blocking the 1 cent hike in the sales tax. If she were on the Village Board, she would oppose Pekau’s one-half cent sales tax hike and the increase in the utility taxes.
I also support Scott Kaspar, who Pekau once backed but turned on quickly. Kaspar’s Illinois Review offers well thought out insights into Conservative issues and the phoniness of the mayor.
Am I a critic of Sean Morrison? ABSOLUTELY. His conduct in defending the predatory actions of his senior employee, Anthony Martin, are despicable. The documents came from the Cook County State’s Attorney and from the Colorado State Police, all public records that did not come from independent investigator Mike Henry, as Pekau, again, falsely asserts.
Pekau defended Morrison, despite his defense of Anthony Martin’s despicable conduct preying on teenage girls while supervising for Morrison’s company.
Can you imagine that all this was the bulk of a Mayor’s “State of the Village” speech?
I’ve been a journalist 47 years and I have never run across anything more detestable from a politician who believes he is above accountability and doesn’t have to answer for his actions.
Pekau’s attacks on me and others are smoke and mirrors intended to distract the taxpayers from his tax hikes and his bad leadership.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter. A political analyst and CEO of Urban Strategies Group, Hanania’s opinion columns on mainstream issues are published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. His Middle East columns are published in the Arab News. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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