Grasso responds to Pekau’s pathological lies and abuse of his village office
Real Republican Gary Grasso responds to Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau’s vicious political lies and mischaracterizations. Pekau made his political attacks in his taxpayer funded position as Mayor of Orland Park, something Pekau does quite often.
By Ray Hanania
Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau likes to personally attack individuals as he did recently in his eNewsletter which sometimes appears like it is the official voice of Mayor Pekau, who is paid for by the taxpayers, or Politics over People Pekau, which should not be associated with the Village. The eNewsletter has his Logo “Keith Pekau Mayor” right at the top suggesting it is an official Mayoral proclamation and not just the blathering of the extremist that Pekau is.
On Oct. 2, 2023, Pekau launched a vicious personal attack in his eNewsletter against Grasso simply because Grasso doesn’t agree with or support Pekau’s deranged political antics.
Pekau’s public statements are so exaggerated, distorted and unfactual and mostly lies targeting people who question his authority. It’s almost pathological.
Orland Park and the region recognize that Pekau can’t be trusted to be accurate. And they should consider the alternatives out there to help strengthen Orland Park, not bring it down as Pekau does so often.
Here is what Pekau wrote:
Recently it was reported that Gary Grasso is circulating petitions to run for State Representative of Illinois 82nd District. He hopes you won’t investigate his background.
Mr. Grasso lacks the values, courage, and principles we need in Springfield. I can’t support him and when you get to know him, I don’t think you will either. He:
- Raised his salary twice and tried to increase his salary by 500% in 2020.
- Shut down Burr Ridge during COVID, forced businesses to close, and used the police to enforce unconstitutional mandates.
- Tried to cut police budgets and has failed to address crime.
- Is already calling to compromise our values.
- Believes Republicans are the problem, and we should be more like democrats if we want to win.
Perhaps most concerning is Grasso’s refusal to support our campaign for Congress against the radical leftist Sean Casten. Instead, Grasso actively lobbied other mayors and managers to endorse Casten.
This betrayal goes beyond politics; it undermines our principles and values, and hurts the thousands of families who are now feeling the consequences of Casten’s extreme policies.
Here is Grasso’s statement in response to ther unprovoked, vicious Pekau Politics over People assault:
Fellow Republicans: Far-right extremist Keith Pekau has been making up stories again, now destructively attacking another Republican mayor. A few weeks ago, with no provocation, Pekau spewed absurdities about my mayoral salary, that I opposed his failed campaign for congress last year and twisted how I handled Covid mandates in my village. He improperly used the mayoral letterhead to do so as though his missive was an official city communication. That’s wrong too.
Facts matter – to most.
So, here are the facts.
As mayor, I make $500/mo. with no benefits. I’m on record in 2020 saying the next mayor of my village running in 2021 should be paid $30,000 annually. The voters in my village said no in a referendum. I respected their vote and nonetheless ran in 2021 – unopposed – and still make only $500/mo. I’m fortunate. After over 40 years as an attorney, I do not need the mayor’s salary. Pekau apparently does.
Pekau campaigned for mayor in 2017 on his promise to abolish the $150,000 annual mayor salary – then he immediately reneged on his promise and kept all $600,000 of the taxpayers’ money until his Board voted him back to a $45,000 salary in 2021- against his protestations. Pekau also reportedly demanded and enjoys a golf membership at a local private club. I do not belong to a country club, but if I were a member there, I would ask some pointed questions about Pekau’s arrangement.
With his salary reduced to $45,000, and allegedly no military pension or business prospects, Pekau tried this year to eliminate his city manager so he could assume the position – and presumably the six-figure salary. Well-informed voters in his city figured out his plan and emphatically rejected his attempted usurpation of their government.
As for his failed congressional race in 2022, Pekau lost and then complained I did not endorse him. Pekau omitted that he never asked for my endorsement. Where I come from, you ask for support. He never asked. Of course, it would not have mattered. Casten crushed Pekau on election night even after a photo-op visit from Kevin McCarthy a few days before. To compensate for his shortcomings in that race, a deluded Pekau supporter concocted a story that I had organized mayors against him. Pekau should know that is not true, but he spreads this falsehood because that is who he is. When Pekau repeats this nonsense, challenge him to name one mayor who opposed him, or more importantly, did so at my urging – none did and I never asked any, because it never happened. It’s a trademark Pekau false-narrative. Pekau lost handily on his own far-right agenda to a far-left liberal.
I’m proud of how the village board and I handled the 2020 Covid pandemic in my village. We complied initially with mandates when we did not know how deadly the virus would be. When we understood it could be managed, we instituted village-funded programs that worked. Our approach was highlighted for responsibly keeping restaurants and businesses open – and was featured on
Fox Business News and local TV newscasts for our innovative tent program that kept our local economy open and strong. Any of you who traveled to our village know Pekau’s unsupported statements are illusory and bizarre. Our village receipts increased during Covid, and we are debt free today.
From the outset of Covid, Pekau told people to do as they pleased. Then he chest-thumped about filing a meritless suit against the state that the court correctly and promptly dismissed – reportedly costing his community thousands of precious taxpayer dollars. In my opinion, thumbing your nose to pandemic precautions before knowing how lethal the virus would be in March 2020 only put people at greater risk. His action was not leadership – it was grandstanding and recklessness personified. We were all lucky the virus was not that lethal to healthy people in most cases.
Here is what’s worse with Pekau’s unprovoked, reckless attack on my village and me. Our Grand Old Party has been self-inflicted into super minority status in the state legislature, is struggling to be relevant in Springfield where the jackass party has cleaned our clock again and now holds the governorship and super majorities that Madigan never dreamed of holding. Yet, Pekau, always divisive and disgruntled, attacks a Republican official simply because Pekau cannot deal with his lost campaign.
Fellow Republicans, there is hope to be found in our communities, counties, state and country – and our GOP. Let us be constructive and positive. Our best days can be ahead – if we work together to improve our government, the lives of our children, grandchildren and ourselves, and fulfill the American Dream that is still out there.
No one has been more accurate about describing how Pekau is tearing apart the fabric of the Republican Party than Gary Grasso. While Grasso deals in facts, Pekau deals in his usual namecalling, lies, and exaggerations purely to benefit himself and no one else.
(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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