Orland Park trustees move to eject Scott Kaspar, a political foe of Mayor Keith Pekau, from village panels

April 6, 2022
4 minute read


Orland Park trustees want to remove a political opponent of Mayor Keith Pekau from the village’s Ethics Commission and Police Pension Fund Board for what they say are attacks that disparaged the village and particularly the Police Department.

Formal action on removing Scott Kaspar from the two appointed positions is expected to come at the April 18 Village Board meeting.

Kaspar is one of six people vying for the Republican nomination in the new 6th Congressional District. Pekau is also a candidate in the June 28 primary and abstained from the discussion and preliminary vote at Monday’s committee of the whole meeting.

Kaspar on Tuesday accused the mayor of “weaponizing and abusing his position as Mayor to target political opponents.”

Trustee Cynthia Nelson Katsenes said Kaspar has “attacked and disparaged” the village and specifically the Police Department, and asked the board remove him from the positions.

Kaspar said he was appointed to the pension board in early March 2020 and his term is set to expire June 7. He was named to the ethics commission in early May 2020 and that term is set to lapse June 1, he said.

Postings on his campaign’s Facebook page suggest that “crime is out of control” in Orland Park, questioning department statistics that would appear to show otherwise.

During a discussion by trustees Monday, trustees threw out terms such as “reckless” to describe their views of Kaspar’s comments.

Trustee Michael Milani called it “behavior not consistent with supporting our police.”

Kaspar has said on his campaign’s Facebook page that supporting law enforcement is a primary plank of his campaign, but that crime in Orland Park, without faulting the village’s officers, might not be what it appears to be.

In 2021, according to figures the Orland Park reported to the FBI that index crimes in the village, the most serious offenses, such as homicide, rape, aggravated assault and burglary, were at the lowest level in 27 years.

Joe Mitchell, who retired as the department’s chief last month, had pointed out in recent presentations that officers were seeing higher numbers of arrests related to firearms, including felons in possession of firearms, including guns that had been modified from being semi-automatic to automatic.

Police have said that Orland Park’s most prevalent crime, seen in many other suburbs, is vehicles left unlocked with valuables inside or with a key or fob left, resulting in the car being stolen.

A favorite target of both Kaspar as well as Orland Park officials is Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who they have accused of being soft on crime. In early March, Orland Park trustees adopted a resolution calling on Foxx to step down.

Kaspar’s Facebook page posted last month that “some are saying crime in Orland Park is at a 27-year low. Arrests might be at a 27-year low in our city but crime is out of control, right here in Orland Park.”

Kaspar wrote on his campaign’s Facebook page that those living in town known the village statistics showing the drop in crime are untrue.

“True, less crimes are being prosecuted, but there’s too much crime happening that never goes before a judge,” he said in the March 21 post.

Kaspar said he has assembled a task force that includes Bernard Kerik, a former New York City police commissioner, to study crime in the 6th District.

Kasper unleased a slew of attack ads when he ran for Orland Township supervisor in April 2021 against incumbent Paul O’Grady. Kaspar lost the contest, but gained just under a third of votes cast.

In the 6th District, on the Democratic side, 6th District Rep. Sean Casten of Downers Grove faces 3rd District Rep. Marie Newman of La Grange.

The newly redrawn 6th District includes eastern Du Page County and parts of southwestern Cook that formerly were in the 3rd District.

The result is that voters in all or parts of Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn, Orland Park, Tinley Park, Chicago Ridge, Alsip, Crestwood, Bridgeview and other towns have moved into the 6th District from the 3rd District.

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