Plainfield Trustee Reacts to Hurtado's Racism Allegations

Beset by allegations of unethical behavior, the Plainfield Park District board president has accused an elected official, residents of race-based bias.

Jim Racich. Credit: Village of Plainfield
Jim Racich. Credit: Village of Plainfield
Jim Racich — a village trustee who's been an outspoken critic of the Plainfield Park District board majority, to the point of being tossed out of board of commissioners meeting — reacted with anger to park board president Peter Hurtado's recent allegations of racism.

Racich, who also recently had a heated email exchange with fellow village board member and former park district executive director Garrett Peck — took exception to claims Hurtado made in a letter to the editor.

"I am outraged over the fact that he drew on the race card to defend himself," Racich said, referring to the fact that Hurtado has faced allegations of unethical conduct in recent weeks. 

"I have come to the realization that I am now being falsely accused of wrong doing not because I raised so many questions to try to correct and undo the District’s past mistakes, but simply because of the color of my skin and the accent in my voice," Hurtado said in a letter to the editor. "In recent weeks, a Plainfield Village Trustee has publicly mocked the way I talk (by my accent)."

Though Hurtado did not name the village board member who allegedly "mocked" his accent, Racich pointed out that he's fluent in several foreign languages, including Spanish and French.

"He's showing his character," Racich said of Hurtado, referring to the most famous line in Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Racich added, "I will take it one step further by saying his character is totally defective. What he's doing is trying to deflect all of the accusations against himself."

Hurtado is accused of trying to unload a shipment of LED lights on the park district using a dummy company named after his daughter's boyfriend. The company, Josue Solis & Associates, does not appear to exist, and a non-working phone number listed for the company on an invoice matches a number found on a business listing showing Hurtado as its president. Other allegations include charges of nepotism when it comes to hiring park district staff.

"He's trying to get people to go on the defensive," rather than answering the allegations, Racich said, "and it ain't working with me. I have nothing to defend."

In recent weeks, community members have spoken up at park board meetings, urging Hurtado to resign; some have even called for the resignations of fellow board members Janet Silosky and Peter Steinys.

"I call for [Hurtado's] resignation again," Racich said over the weekend.

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Tim February 10, 2014 at 09:09 AM
Margie, its nice to see you finally waking up to who these people really are. Hopefully this time you won't join in on the quest to 'ban people from the site' when they point it out. I'm curious why you didn't bother to speak up on the lies also being spouted about the last park board by your fellow village trustee. It seems like you are just jumping on the bandwagon here from your previous position of supporting this group. I hope your actions in the future line up with the words you just wrote.
John Tips February 10, 2014 at 10:05 AM
As an American, I am growing tired of the RACE card being played by so many just due to their defensive posture. Let's stop the crap - and agree to disagree, but leave race out of it!
Frank February 10, 2014 at 12:06 PM
You're right, John. In anything politically related, there are always several sides to an issue and people are typically very passionate about their leanings. While people may be in opposition to each other's political positions or posturings, rarely if ever would that translate to feelings about the actual people involved, just the positions/posturings. Making it a racial issue is just complete silliness and has no pertinence here.
Alice Norelco February 10, 2014 at 12:33 PM
This is only the surface of the issues in the local Republican Party participating in unethical behavior/having their hands in the cookie jar. What does the party chairman have to say about this? It's time to start laying the same ground rules for all elected officials. This unethical behavior must stop! Hurtado's daughter's boyfriend is bad-- how about this?? a live-in boyfriend/girlfriend taking tens- if not hundreds of thousands of dollars since 2009? Why is this acceptable? Take the time to FOIA the Will County Forest Preserve and see many thousands-- possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars were awarded to Lee Goodson's house-mate Brent Hassert. Lee Goodson is a R-Will County Board member and a voting member of the Forest Preserve District. She flaunts expensive jewelry, vacations in South America, Prague, etc.. Has a house her and Brent Hassert share that is worth close to 1 million dollars. Who pays for all of this? A vendor of the Forest Preserve??? Are elected officials allowed to accept gifts from vendors? If so, is it ethical? It looks like a larger investigation needs to start and NOW! Feel free to email mdemauro@fpdwc.org and ask to FOIA all invoices from Brent Hassert Consulting. How do they get away with pillaging our tax dollars for themselves?? Don't take my word for it... then you can verify they share a home together on the Will County Recorder's website.. 24820 Easy St. Plainfield, IL 60586 It's time to start voting Democrat in Plainfield. There is no excuse for this! It's an abuse and a shame! Once you are done, please call the Will County State's Attorney and ask for an investigation on this while they are at it! 815-727-8453
TB Plfd February 10, 2014 at 04:04 PM
Why would any one want to start voting Democrat? Our Country and State (IL) is controlled by the Democrats and that has gotten us now where but more and more in Debt.


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