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.

Related stories:
Bad News Bears February 09, 2014 at 06:01 PM
Mr Racich, thank you for being a man of good character and ethics and for making your voice heard since the beginning. Plainfield is fortunate to have leaders like you
plainfieldpete February 09, 2014 at 06:05 PM
community united? Call for your resignations as the real republicans fill the ballot box. You are out classed, out manned and will be out spent. You people should spend more time with your families and stop chasing this illusion. Tim, guess how many doors I knocked today in support the candidates I believe in?
Vicky Polito February 09, 2014 at 06:07 PM
It's good men and women in Plainfield like Jim Racich who inspire the BEST in us all. Aside from just being a terrific intellect with a great sense of humor, if Jim has a prejudiced bone in his body it's a prejudice toward kindness and generosity and against dishonesty and cruelty. Jim is a man who gets up each day with positive intention. He doesn't ask himself, "what's in it for ME today, how do I take care of Number 1?", he really does seem to ask "what can I do today to make something GOOD happen, big or small?". And, then he comes up with an answer and goes out and pursues the goal. He doesn't just talk about it, he does it. And, when he says something, he's direct and truthful. As has been pointed out, that Jim uses an inflection, an accent, when he pronounces Peter Hurtado's name is, ironically, out of respect and not as any sort of cheap, childish insult. Jim leaves that to guys like Peter Hurtado.
Theresa February 09, 2014 at 06:16 PM
Thank you Mr. Rachich- you are a fine example of what a good community leader should be and a fine human being.... there are several that come to mind that could learn by your example. However, I believe they are too far gone to ever learn!
Jamey Alwood February 09, 2014 at 06:28 PM
Thank You Jim Rachich for being a true public servant and for always being true to your convictions. I will be proud to stand with you and the rest of our neighbors in exposing Mr. Hurtado for his lack of character and decency.
Frank February 09, 2014 at 08:08 PM
Mr. Racich, you are one of the biggest reasons for people in this community to have pride in this community. Racich is a true and passionate public servant, doing incalculable good for this community NOT FOR PERSONAL GAIN, BUT FOR HIS LOVE FOR PEOPLE (REGARDLESS OF THEIR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN OR ECONOMIC BACKGROUND) AND A PASSION FOR SERVING THE PEOPLE OF THE COMMUNITY WITH RESPECT, HONOR AND DIGNITY. In my mind, it is unconscionable for Hurtado to hurl the 100% false accusations he has hurled. UNCONSCIONABLE! Anyone acquainted, even remotely, with the inspiring work Jim Racich puts forth on behalf of the Hispanic community would laugh Hurtado right out of this town. The real truth of the matter is that there is FAR more Hispanic support and gratitude for Jim Racich that there is for Peter Hurtado! As I've stated before, Hurtado's assertion is 100% a false accusation and by making it, he has further damned his own reputation. Again, thank you, Jim, for being the first to the stump to decry the wrongdoings of the PTPD.
Frank February 09, 2014 at 08:26 PM
@plainfieldpete, I can tell you precisely how many doors you knocked on today. It's the exact same number as those that you were shooed away from. Keep-a-knockin.......maybe your hand will be too sore to color in the dots on the teaparty ballot.
Bad News Bears February 09, 2014 at 08:37 PM
Frank, don't waste your time on plainfieldpete. He is you A-typical teaparty member. They are extremely angry individuals filled with hate. Right now they hate the fact that everyone but them knows their party is dying because of their extreme ways and, just like Hurtado screaming racism to try to take the attention off himself, he is desperately trying to keep the faith that someone will actually vote for his candidates. God forbid the "woman teacher" win. Their might be someone with a vajayjay in charge. Dear lord, the horror!!!!!! #LovesWhenTeaPartyMembersProveMyPointForMe
Frank February 09, 2014 at 08:50 PM
Right on BNB!
Theresa February 09, 2014 at 09:14 PM
@plainfieldpete DO NOT knock on my door...you will be curbside with the trash cans. Cleaning Plainfield of the trash.
Frank February 09, 2014 at 09:22 PM
Lord knows they can't be put out in advance around here, but maybe on election day, signs should be posted all over the place that simply say "Woman Teacher."
my conscience February 09, 2014 at 09:32 PM
I found Jim’s comments to be well measured, considering the ludicrous nature of Hurtado’s accusation. A racist? Jim is what we want in a governmental leader: fair, accountable, responsible and - maybe above all else - trustworthy. Of course Hurtado was hoping that his accusation of ethnic and racial discrimination would detract attention from the real issues at the park district. And in some way it is working. Look at the type of questions and comments that are now appearing. I have a sinking feeling that the citizens of Plainfield are never going to get honest answers to those lingering, but slowly fading questions …
plainfieldpete February 09, 2014 at 09:41 PM
what ever you wish Frank as long as the next day after you see the results you can admit you were wrong.
Vicky Polito February 09, 2014 at 09:43 PM
MC--I'd share your feeling about the underlying issues and questions if it weren't that more shoes are being unlaced and are going to drop, and there is only about three weeks until the next PTPD meeting. A lot can happen in those three weeks and at that meeting. Remember that the narrower focus here, on forums like this, doesn't encompass all the action.
Tim February 09, 2014 at 09:49 PM
MC - The states attorney and other agencies are looking into the real problems, and no amount of distraction can stop them. As you know, the comments 'usually' follow the topic at hand, and people would rather recognize and thank Mr. Racich tonight, than talk about Hurtado. Maybe this whole attempt at distraction hints at some big news coming out this week that he is trying to get in front of.... I guess time will tell. I don't think anybody is forgetting the real issues. In the meantime, why not recognize the good people in the community?
joe February 09, 2014 at 09:50 PM
Mr. Hurtado, are you reading the multitude of poignant post regarding your delusions of racism? Do you have the slightest clue that you are not wanted even for a Plainfield Dog Catcher position? Take the hint, pack your bags, the ship will be leaving soon. If there is an ounce of class in your convoluted mind, please resign now before this gets really ugly.
Frank February 09, 2014 at 09:55 PM
MC, "the type of questions and comments that are now appearing" all still seem to mirror those that have developed over the last 9 months. I have seen ZERO (I repeat) ZERO support for Hurtado's dubious positions (or his positioning or posturing, if you will). The man has no support. The community at large has called loudly for his resignation, while NOBODY in the community has come out in support of him; his own board is turning against him; Siloskey has come out and accused him of alleged ethics breaches and alleged violations of law; the majority of the Village Board, with the exception of only Bill Lamb and Mike Collins have called for his resignation. The real question is, what more evidence does this man need to realize that this dance is over?
Frank February 09, 2014 at 10:01 PM
Maybe the real question is who does he owe? Who does he owe so much to that he will continue this fruitless and embarrassing charade' and this onerous plight? My opinion is that he may be beholding to somebody for something, for no sane person would continue this endeavor, subjecting himself to this amount of grief when the only light in the tunnel is that of an oncoming train. It just doesn't make sense.
camaro1 February 09, 2014 at 10:11 PM
I will never vote for any Republican that has any connection with these people or with PTRO in Plainfield and as for as Plainfieldpete you can go pound sand with Garrett Peck.
oldschool February 09, 2014 at 10:14 PM
Jim, you got a set of stones. Give em hell!!!
plainfieldpete February 09, 2014 at 10:15 PM
how does a few dozen mean "community at large"?? You people are so thick. The majority of Plainfield doesn't know and doesn't care. If you went out your circle you would know this. Most people are working families that don't have time to sit on patch. The circulation of local papers is next to nothing. I've actually walked multiple subdivisions and not one person has asked about the park district. If they knew , they might be concerned. you are going to be crying when the polls close.
Vicky Polito February 09, 2014 at 10:18 PM
Just an FYI--the village board meeting for tomorrow, Feb 10, that was supposed to be a COW workshop has been changed to a special meeting with some business items that I assume need to get handled this week. Just wanted to let people know. My understanding is that neither Garrett Peck nor Jim Racich will be at tomorrow's meeting. Just so you all know. The next regular and hopefully fully attended board meeting will be Monday, March 3rd.
Mary Ludemann February 10, 2014 at 12:34 AM
Thank you Jim Racich for supporting the Park District and voicing your concerns during the public comment portion of our meetings about changes that have happened, and continue to happen, since May of 2013. Thanks also to all concerned residents that support the Park District.
Margie Bonuchi February 10, 2014 at 08:28 AM
This is so far from the truth! Jim Racich is a fine, decent man who embraces the cultures of many. Jim is a world traveler who speaks many languages and takes the time to learn about all different types of people and customs, wherever he goes. If he pronounces a name using an accent, its not to insult or mock, its to acknowledge the correct pronunciation, as a show of respect. Jim is also a regular VOLUNTEER at the Will Grundy clinic. He is there to translate for the patients and the doctors because some patients cannot speak English well enough to get the medical help that is needed. He speaks 5 languages and uses his talent for the good of others. Does this sound like a racist to you? Attacking this man is poor excuse to deflect the real issues that need to be addressed! I am proud to know Jim Racich!
Dennis February 10, 2014 at 08:59 AM
Plainfieldpete.. What I am seeing and feeling, by reading these posts, is that it is YOUR sickness that has found a cure.. The people will make sure the word gets out so that none with YOUR same disease will ever slip in to positions of power like this again.
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.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something