What’s in a name? A lot, especially when a one letter difference causes confusion that drags a reputable family’s name into the mud with a man that a judge has called a "serial child molester."
That confusion has resulted in a lot of angry people reaching out to complain to the mayors of Naperville and Bolingbrook about a road they mistakenly thought was named to honor Dennis Hastert.
“Some people are politely saying I think it's somewhat in bad taste and some people are very, very aggressively saying this is disgusting, how could you do this, he's now a convicted felon and you got the name of someone like that up there and it's awful,” said Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico.
A four mile stretch of 111th street the connects Bolingbrook and Naperville was renamed Hassert Boulevard more than a dozen years ago to honor a family with a rich history in the region.
The Hassert family has been around these parts since 1866, and prominent family members have served as chairmen of the Will County Board and the local school district.
Brent Hassert was himself a state representative for 16 years.
“From the family's perspective, the Hassert family's perspective we just don't want our name you know kind of diminished,” Brent Hassert said.
Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was convicted this week in a hush money case that was meant to cover up his sexual abuse of wrestlers while he was a coach in Yorkville.
On Friday, the Bolingbrook mayor had six signs put up along Hassert Boulevard along with posts on the village’s Facebook page to make sure people got the message that it's two different, unrelated families.
The four-foot by three-foot blue signs read: “Hassert Blvd is named after the Hassert family NOT Dennis Hastert the former Speaker.”
Brent Hassert understands the confusion with Dennis Hastert.
“This past week that name's been on the TV, radio, everywhere and if you listen very closely, even people as they say the name, they keep saying it faster and faster so it sounds more like Hassert than Hastert,” he said.
Naperville’s mayor believes the confusion may last a while, but he doesn't see a need to put up signs in Naperville.
“I don't know if it's going to be necessary now that there's been pretty good coverage on it,” Chirico said.
The Hassert family hopes the signs will help clear up the confusion.