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HomeIllinois NewsMayor Keith Pekau Goes on the Attack, Accuses Rep. Casten of Being...

Mayor Keith Pekau Goes on the Attack, Accuses Rep. Casten of Being “Divisive, Hypocritical and Self-Serving,” Just Weeks After Praising Democrat Rep. Marie Newman



By Illinois Review

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau has only been on the job for six years, but in that short amount of time, he’s already showing the characteristics of a typical career politician – “divisive, hypocritical and self-serving.”

On Wednesday, Pekau slammed Democratic US Rep. Sean Casten, IL-6, in a Facebook post, writing,

“Of course Sean Casten wants to eliminate checks and balances. He believes in government control and that the Constitution and founding fathers were wrong. America is the best country in the history of the world thanks to the US Constitution put in place by the founding fathers.”

Yet, Pekau is trying to do the same thing – by expanding the role of his mayoral position in a power grab that he’s calling a “referendum.”

In 2017, Keith Pekau ran for mayor of Orland Park on a single issue: reduce the salary of the mayor from $150,000 to $40,000.

But elevating the mayor position to that of a full-time, Chicago-style mayor, and by effectively eliminating the need for a full-time Village Manager, Pekau would be set to reclaim his former $150,000 salary, and the pension perks that come with it.

It would also give Pekau virtually unlimited power in Orland Park – making him the most powerful mayor in over 40 years.

And earlier on Monday, it was discovered that Pekau not only edited the official Village of Orland Park website, he deliberately sabotaged it, deleting historical information about the council-manager form of government – the very form of government based on checks and balances that Pekau is trying to eliminate.

But, Pekau isn’t hypocritical.

During the January 16, 2023 Orland Park Village Board Meeting, Pekau had a special VIP guest in the room – La Grange resident and former Democratic US Rep. Marie Newman, who was in town to receive the Orland Park Community Appreciation Award.

Pekau spent the last year attacking Newman on social media, even tweeting,

“Anti-police rhetoric & attempts to defund the police by radical leftists like Sean Casten & Marie Newman have put our communities at risk. As mayor of Orland Park, I’ve stood with law enforcement & kept our community safe. I’ll continue to do so as your congressman.”

But a year later, Pekau is publicly showering Newman with praise for her assistance in securing $7 million in federal funding for the 143rd expansion project – a project to expand 143rd Street and widen it to five lanes.

“I’m grateful and thankful for former Congresswoman Newman’s help and support…”

But Pekau went a step further during the meeting where he honored Newman, even suggesting that,

“There are things we agree on…we both think that we can do a better job than the current 6th District Congressman [ US Rep. Sean Casten].”

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau and former Democratic US Rep. Marie Newman at a recent board meeting where Pekau praised Newman and honored her with a Community Appreciation Award.

During the pandemic, Newman and her husband Jim Newman owned shares in Moderna – the manufacturer of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. The shares also created the potential for conflicts of interests and accusations of profiting off the pandemic. 

And so it is no surprise that Newman was supportive of vaccinating children during the pandemic, writing in a Facebook post

“The COVID-19 vaccine is now authorized for kids ages 5-11 in addition to everyone 12+. Vaccines are widely available across Illinois. Get vaccinated.”

Newman also secured $70 million in federal funding to boost the COVID-19 vaccine program in her district.

Once again, Pekau isn’t hypocritical.

He also uses his email Newsletter to attack and hurl insults at taxpayers, constituents and political opponents – even resorting to name calling.

And during his concession speech on election night in November, Pekau attacked the very same people, who only hours before, he was asking for their vote, saying,

“Here in Illinois, over 55 percent of the people are still duped by a message of lies and deceit over honesty. By a message of death over life….”

He goes on to say that he doesn’t see a “path forward” for Illinois – in a very combative, dark, and divisive speech.

But, Pekau isn’t divisive.

Pekau also rewards his top campaign contributors with consulting agreements, when last March, Pekau and the village board voted in favor of signing a six-figure consulting agreement with one of the mayor’s biggest donors to develop village-owned property along one of Orland Park’s busiest corridors.

Ramzi Hassan and Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau. Hassan is a major campaign donor to both Pekau and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. (Facebook/Edwards Realty)

Edwards Realty, a longtime supporter and campaign contributor to both Pekau’s mayoral and congressional campaigns, was hired in March of 2021 to consult the mayor and village board on ways to develop Orland Park’s Main Street Triangle property.

The land development deal is estimated to cost around $253 million, and the village is expected to share around $50 million.

During Pekau’s congressional campaign in 2022, Open Secrets listed Edwards Realty as one of his largest campaign contributors, donating $9,800.

Hassan also maxed out his personal campaign contribution to Pekau’s congressional account, donating $5,800.

Hassan was also listed as the primary sponsor of Pekau’s boat cruise during his primary congressional campaign.

In 2019, Hassan donated $1,000 to Keith for Mayor.

But Hassan doesn’t just donate to his friend Pekau.

On December 27, 2022, he made a $5,000 personal contribution to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who made history last week by becoming the first mayor in 40 years to lose re-election.

On Dec. 27, 2022, Ramzi Hassan made a $5,000 personal contribution to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

In 2018, Lightfoot campaigned on reducing gun violence, but in her four years as mayor, there were over 2,300 homicides, over 9,000 shootings, and in 2020, Chicago saw the highest homicide rate in over 25 years.

Pekau attacks Lightfoot often on social media, tweeting in September of 2022,

“The chaos & anti-police violence isn’t contained to the city. It’s bleeding into Chicago’s suburbs, thanks to Lightfoot, Foxx & Casten’s “restorative justice” policies. The 1st role of govt is to provide for public safety. On that, Lightfoot, Foxx & Casten have totally failed.”

But the optics of having a friend, major campaign contributor and city contractor who’s advising the mayor and the trustee board – who’s also a major campaign contributor to Lightfoot – is problematic.

And some would even suggest, hypocritical.

But Pekau isn’t “divisive, hypocritical or self-serving” – that’s just Casten.

Only six years into the job, and he’s already acting like a career politician.


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