By Illinois Review
In an opinion piece published this week in the Washington Examiner, Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau – who is laying the groundwork to launch another congressional campaign, addressed the US deficit – arguing that we must “put aside partisan bickering” if there’s any hope of solving our country’s financial crisis.
But back home, Pekau’s tenure as mayor of Orland Park tells a different story.
In June, Pekau created a new utility tax – meaning constituents will have to pay more for gas and electricity in the midst of recession fears.
And that’s not all.
Pekau has also recently implemented a wildly unpopular new sales tax that surpasses Democratic-controlled Chicago’s sales tax, to help pay for a variety of his initiatives, including a $10 million concert stage at Centennial Park West.
Reports suggest that the price tag for the concert stage is closer to $16 million – but Pekau continues to claim that it won’t cost any more than $10 million to $12 million to build.
However, if the attendance at free concerts is any indication of the lack of interest and support – the idea of building a multi-million dollar concert venue where residents will have to pay for shows – seems like a concept that will be dead on arrival and a total waste of taxpayer money.
During a recent Village of Orland Park Board of Trustee meeting, Mayor Pekau bragged about the attendance at the last free concert in the park – claiming there were “2,500 people at the last one” – but as photos from concertgoers revealed, there were less than 50 in attendance.
Meaning Pekau’s estimates were off by about 2,450.
In his opinion piece, Pekau also talks about the need to set aside “partisan bickering” – and he calls on the public “to support and elect people willing to roll up their sleeves, put partisanship aside, and work toward these commonsense solutions.”
But back home, Pekau remains one of the most divisive mayors in recent history – and he’s known for attacking and harassing constituents online, in his official mayoral emails and during meetings and speeches.
In 2021, Pekau and his slate of hand-picked candidates campaigned on “putting people over politics” and being a voice for everyone, regardless of political parties and affiliations.
However, what the residents have witnessed instead, is a mayor obsessed with power and control.
Residents have also witnessed a mayor who frequently exhibits abusive behavior towards the very people who elected him.
Question his motives or point out his hypocrisy and he publicly labels you a liar.
Pekau also governs by fear, and like a dictator, he’s always looking for sympathy – manipulating the narrative and changing the script so that he’s always the victim – in every situation.
He’s also a bully and rude, and he frequently attacks women in public comments online – and then deleting those comments, only after they’ve been read by the intended recipient as a form of intimidation.
In late March, Pekau and his close friend and fellow trustee Sean Kampas were caught harassing female Orland Fire Protection District candidates Angela Greenfield and Tina Zekich and their volunteers as they campaigned and knocked on doors in a local neighborhood just a week before the April elections.
Pekau and Kampas spent the morning following the group in Pekau’s Dodge Durango as they walked a nearby neighborhood to knock on doors and drop off literature.
Although Pekau and Kampas never got out of the car, numerous witnesses said the pair continued to follow the group as they knocked on doors – staring at them through the car windows in a sad attempt at intimidating the group of volunteers who were campaigning on behalf of candidates that they opposed.
Nevertheless, the embattled mayor remains incredibly unpopular, and the last several events he’s hosted around town have drawn extremely small crowds.
In March, Pekau hosted a town hall meeting to discuss his referendum to expand his power and influence on all village matters, with an estimated 15 people in attendance despite the room being set up for 100.
A few weeks later, Pekau would suffer humiliating defeats during the April election as residents resoundingly rejected his power grab dubbed as a “referendum” by a shocking 31 points.
But that wasn’t all. Voters also rejected Pekau’s slate of endorsed candidates, losing 9 out of 10 races – proving that an overwhelming majority of Orland Park residents rejected Pekau and anyone associated with the power-hungry and divisive mayor.
And while Pekau continues to attract incredibly small crowds, with his divisive and abusive behavior on full display, he continues to lay the groundwork to launch yet another congressional campaign.
And now he’s publishing opinion pieces in Washington publications.
While Pekau lacks the temperament to serve in elected office, he has proven, however, to be a better fit as a waiter at Ed Debevic’s, where being rude and a bully is part of the charm.
Perhaps it’s time for Pekau to think about a career change. And we’re not talking about Congress.