'This Sideshow Has to Stop:' Plainfield Park Board President

Hurtado talks about racism claims in WJOL interview.

Peter Hurtado. Credit: File photo
Peter Hurtado. Credit: File photo

Three days after issuing a statement saying he believes racism is the real reason behind recent ethics allegations, Plainfield Park District Board President Peter Hurtado went on WJOL's Kevin Kollins Show to double down on his claim.

Last month, fellow park board member Janet Silosky spoke up at a board meeting, accusing Hurtado of trying to use a dummy company to sell a shipment of LED lights to the park district.

Calling the allegations of racism "very disturbing," Kollins asked Hurtado what he thought of recent statements from Plainfield Village Trustee Jim Racich. In an interview with Patch, Racich expressed outrage, saying, "[Hurtado] drew on the race card to defend himself." Racich also accused Hurtado of using racism claims to deflect attention from the allegations made against him.

"We're talking about fact, not fictions," Hurtado said of the claims he made in a Feb. 9 letter to the editor. He maintained that Racich can be seen in video of a July park board meeting mocking his accent. "He was making fun of me," Hurtado said.

Asked by Kollins to address the allegations about LED lights, Hurtado said he believes an investigation will show no evidence of ethics violations.

"It's an ongoing investigation right now, so I think it would be inappropriate to comment," Hurtado said. He did say he was unaware of the lighting purchase, and denied any link between himself and Solis, the company listed on an invoice for the lights.

He also said it's time to bring the focus back to the task of running the park district.

"I need to move away from that," he said of the allegations. "Things are good at the Plainfield Park District. This sideshow has to stop."

During his interview with Kollins, Hurtado also downplayed the reaction of residents to recent turmoil at the park district, saying it's the same group of people who continually speak up at park board meetings. In recent weeks, some outraged residents have even called for Hurtado's resignation.

"There's about 25 people in the group," he said. "It's the same people coming to the meetings," Hurtado added, saying YouTube videos posted by a park district resident back up his claim.

Although Hurtado's letter to the editor claims racism, when Kollins asked him if his original accuser, Janet Silosky, is racist, the board president said no, noting that he has campaigned with her in the past.

"Sometimes in the heat of the moment we say something that we don't really mean," he said of Silosky's allegations.

Last week, Silosky told Patch she can no longer comment on the allegations, citing a pending investigation.

Hurtado also told Kollins he would like to see his fellow park board commissioners support the creation of a public advisory commission and an independent ethics committee.

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Jackie Darling February 11, 2014 at 08:25 PM
Theresa- This is from the Park District's Website. The next meeting will be held on March 4th, unless of course another "special meeting" is scheduled before then. The regular monthly meetings of the Plainfield Township Park District will be held on the 1st Tuesday of the month. All meetings are held at the Plainfield Township Administration Building, 22525 W. Lockport Street, Plainfield, IL 60544 unless otherwise noted in accordance with the Open Meetings Act. All meetings begin at 6:00 p.m. and are open to the public.
Vicki Knight February 11, 2014 at 08:43 PM
I was at the last meeting and there were more than 25 people there so I don't know what Peter Hurtado is talking about, I guess he can't count. I just got done reading the article from the Hearld News and OMG!!!!WHAT A JOKE!!!!!! Who does he think he is kidding?
Theresa February 11, 2014 at 09:04 PM
@Jackie Yes, thank you but they have a history of changing or to cancel at a moments notice :)
my conscience February 11, 2014 at 09:31 PM
This message is directed at parents who might question the state of civics education in Illinois. Do you think it might be too extreme to say that so few young people understand what civics and representative government mean that our democracy could be at stake? Do you think that, if we don’t start practicing and demanding ethical behavior of our government officials, eventually our democracy will fail? Would it be a stretch to say that many freedoms we now enjoy are taken for granted, not understood or could even be lost? OK, maybe that is a stretch, but the next Park District, or Village board meeting would be an excellent opportunity for civics students, or others wanting to learn more about local government, to attend and see first-hand how community problems are handled by local government. To maximize the educational value, before attending the meeting some background in the various issues facing the board should be reviewed and several key questions written down. During the meeting, the student should review their list to see if their most important questions are covered. The list of questions should be discussed by students, teachers and parents both before and after the meeting. Another excellent topic that could be studied is the Illinois law regarding open meetings, and how it benefits all citizens. It would be good for teachers and students to express why open meetings are good, and what Illinois may have been like before the open meetings were required by law. This exercise is best done before attending a meeting. This is a tremendous learning opportunity for civics learners of all ages. Who knows, one of them could be our next president! Reference: http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/open-meetings-laws-illinois
Bad News Bears February 11, 2014 at 09:53 PM
MC, there have been high school students that have attended the PPD meetings for civics class. A bunch of them got to witness our President ( Hurtado) and ED ( Peck) play tic tac toe while tax payers spoke. So I guess they got their civics lesson that day


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