Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau scowls while listening to an audio recording of an attacking robocall during the State of the Village address on May 24. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau scowls while listening to an audio recording of an attacking robocall during the State of the Village address on May 24. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Despite attacks, Pekau says he will run again in 2025

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By Jeff Vorva

Usually, when mayors get up and give their yearly status reports of their communities, there is a lot of happy-happy-joy-joy talk.

Even some of the negatives get glossed over with optimism for change.

But when Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau held the 2023 version of the State of the Village address on May 24 at the Civic Center, he hit hard for the first 20 minutes of the speech on his political enemies and the robocalls that residents are getting from them.

And, lest his foes think he is just going to hide his head and leave his post, he is defiant.

“They do it because they hope I’m going to quit and that ain’t going to happen,” Pekau said. “I promise you that the more they do it, the less likely I’m going to quit.”

As a matter of fact, he told the crowd of more than 100 people at the Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event that he is going to run for a third term in 2025. If he wins, it will be his final four years as mayor as the village has a three-term limit for mayor, trustees and the village clerk. He has served since 2017.

The term limits were something that Pekau wanted to see on the 2020 ballot and the voters overwhelmingly approved the idea.

As for the robocalls and other attacks, Pekau said the board of trustees can handle it, but he is concerned for the future.

“They do it hoping the trustees will quit,” Pekau said. “They do it so good people won’t step up to run. We hear it time and time again that people don’t want to run because they don’t want to be subject to one of these calls. Good people need to step up and run.”

The mayor pointed out that it’s not just around election time that these calls are being made. He said that they are still being made long after the elections.

“It’s important because our staff deals with phone calls almost every day about the robocalls that the residents have gotten,” Pekau said. “I probably have to talk to someone four times a week about this. Frankly, I’m tired of it. We’re all tired of it.”

While he said there would be some uncomfortable moments, Pekau shared audio tracks from a handful of the attacks on him, his family, the village board, some of his political supporters including Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison, the police department and businesses.

He named residents Mike Henry and Gerry Gorman as culprits behind the calls using court testimony as his source. For good measure, he threw in resident Scott Kaspar and Southwest Regional Publishing columnist Ray Hanania into the fray because the two have published negative articles on a website that Pekau says “appear to be coordinated with the robocalls.”

While some of the robocalls he played for the crowd engage in personal attacks, including how Pekau’s children dislike him and imply that he is having an extramarital affair, he said that he has been accused of sending out the robocalls.

“They accuse me of making these calls and they are out of their minds,” Pekau said. “What’s even worse is that they never denounce them. They think it’s OK to go after our wives and our families.

“You know why? Because the ends justify the means, in their minds, and they want power back. They want control back. They want money back.”

Pekau said that he is told by the residents that these calls need to be stopped and he said the village is doing everything it can to do that but so far, it’s been a losing battle.

He said he wants to use the video from his State of the Village address as a reference point for those residents who want to know why they are receiving these calls.

“I don’t want to talk about it anymore,” Pekau said. “I don’t want to hear about it anymore. We’re doing everything we can.”

1 Comment

  1. Ralph on June 1, 2023 at 8:19 pm

    If he is a mayor, why is he wearing an embroidered police star on his polo? Has he graduated from the police academy or just a wannabe?



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