Grasso Accuses Pekau of Blatantly Distorting His Own Record to Deceive Voters (Burr Ridge, IL)– 6th Congressional District candidate and Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso criticized his opponent for what he calls “a blatant distortion of the facts” ahead of the June 28th primary. Grasso is specifically challenging his opponent, Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau, on deceiving voters about Pekau’s salary and pension as mayor and property taxes in Orland Park.
“If you compare what he says against the record, it is clear my opponent is blatantly distorting facts in an effort to deceive voters,” stated Grasso. “Pekau has been lying about the salary prior to being elected mayor promising to do one thing only to do another after he is elected. I think voters deserve to know the truth about his campaign distortions and frankly about him before they cast their vote on June 28th.”
Pekau and his campaign are sending mailers, emails, videos, and speeches to tout false claims such as: “I (Pekau) lowered my own salary by 70% and I took away pensions for elected officials.” His deception started in 2017 when he vigorously campaigned against the $150,000+ mayor’s salary yet pocketed the salary when sworn in after the election. It is well documented that Pekau chose to take the full $150,000 after saying he was against it, deceiving Orland voters who voted for him.
“When my opponent won his election, he kept the mayor’s salary for four years totaling over $600,000. Midway through his term, his duties were cut to part time at the same rate of pay and made it pensionable – a further hidden benefit for him. So, Pekau deceived the voters by promising one thing and doing another and he is deceiving them again now,” added Grasso.
Under the 2016 village ordinance, the Orland Park Board of Trustees provided for the $150,000 mayor’s salary to “sunset” automatically back to what it was in 2016 if they did not extend it. No vote to lower the salary was ever taken by the Village Board. Pekau’s claims that he cut his salary by 70% are blatantly false and misleading – the salary was lowered automatically by Village ordinance.
“Keith Pekau tells unsuspecting voters that he removed all the pensions for elected officials – leaving out one important fact: he and the board kept his position pension eligible,” Grasso contends. “Pekau voted in favor of keeping himself pension eligible by a 5 to 2 vote.”
Grasso’s campaign also takes issue with Pekau’s claims he lowered property taxes by 28% in Orland Park. Like many municipalities, schools account for the largest portion of property taxes upwards of 70% with the remaining taxes levied for county, pensions, and other taxing bodies.
Property taxes in villages like Orland Park are traditionally 5% to 6% of a total tax bill. Pekau has once again claimed in mailers, emails, videos, and speeches that he lowered property taxes by as much as 30% which is false. In fact, he increased the tax levy (the amount of money the village wants from taxes), and Orland is taking in more money today than when he began as mayor therefore increasing property taxes since he took office.
“It is disingenuous to tell voters district-wide that you lowered property taxes in Orland Park by nearly 30% when you only control 5% – 6% of a total property tax bill,” explained Grasso. “It seems to establish a pattern of false claims misleading voters at a time when trust in our government is at an all-time low. Look, the residents of the 6th district deserve honest representation in Congress and that is what they will get from me.
Grasso Accuses Pekau of Blatantly Distorting His Own Record to Deceive Voters