Country Club Hills: WGN told you so

You know the old saying: I told you so? Well we told you so in several WGN- Better Government Association investigations into a small south suburban town. An audit confirms a whole lot of financial shenanigans going on.

It’s been three years since we first went walking with Mayor Dwight Welch of Country Club Hills challenging him about outrageous credit card charges on the city’s dime.

“It’s a small amount of money when you look at the overall emphasis of what I do,” said Welch back in March of 2012.

He proudly showed off the gleaming amphitheatre right across from city hall. What he didn’t like talking about then is now detailed in a 51-page audit paid for by his own taxpayers

As we first warned you – the audit points out that the mayor bargained front-row seats in exchange for a $50 dollar donation to his late-son’s memorial foundation.

Emails also suggest if you had business with the city, a donation was encouraged.

How wisely that money was used is the target of the audit.

The city treasurer who was at odds with the mayor over finances at the time, said to WGN, “I’m going to use the “F” word – fraud.”

 

When Rhonda Williams pushed for the probe after refusing to sign off on financial reports with millions of dollars missing.

 

“I warned residents. I warned the State. I warned everyone that the numbers weren’t matching up,” said Williams.

 

I hate to say it, but we told you so too. And here we are again. The numbers detailed in the audit:

 

600 checks totaling $1.6 million didn’t receive approval from the city council

 

Nearly $8 million dollars worth of checks had incorrect dates

 

Another $22 million spent before the city council signed off on it.

 

The audit suggests an elevated risk for a pay-to play culture when the mayor’s top campaign contributors over the past decade earn $15.8 million dollars in city business.

 

It points to emails showing city workers doing campaign work on company time –a big no-no.

 

And the audit found what we did three years ago – the mayor likes to wine and dine people. Back then he told us…

 

“So I’m obviously not eating all those meals they’re talking about,” as he pointed to his mid-section.

“I’m buying those meals. I’m buying them to get people to do things for Country Club Hills. That’s why I’m the lobbyist for us. And I’m not ashamed of that I’m not ashamed of that at all.”

 

In three years, the new audit claims the mayor spent more than $99,000 dollars racking up a restaurant and bar tab for dinners oftentimes with other city employees.

 

Oh and we also found the mayor at the golf course long ago where the audit showed he spends a lot of time — 65 charges adding up to $6,938 dollars.

 

Like we said – we told you so.

 

Yet, three years of stories and another $26,000 in costs for an audit and not a peep out of the city, county, state or federal investigators.

 

The accountants said they uncovered a number of what they called fraud risk indicators that could potentially lead to violations of the law. They also said it presents potential evidence of poor judgment, mismanagement of city funds, unethical behavior and inadequate financial controls.

 

There is no criminal investigation into the finances of Country Club Hills that we are aware of.

For the record, Mayor Welch did not return our calls and the town Treasurer chose not to discuss the new audit results.

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

8 comments

  • Mike Hennessy

    Last I heard there are 2 of his closest employees already talking to the authorities, lot of corruption, still people are being hired and the aldermens have either no clue or they just put on a real nice show during city meetings. They huff and puff and they move on for two weeks later, they huff and puff and create a scene but no results, people are finally waking up I hope, my taxes have gone through the roof while the mayor and the ex citi manager where having lobster tails and doing staff meetings at bogarts and Eli Cortez, come on guys are you serious, I think the voters will need an explanation, the next election is going to be real tough one. But as for me I will do this overnight shift and try to earn some hard earned money so I can continue to live in cchills, where there no country club nor hills.

  • anoynumus

    well they sure make a lot of money from the red light camera’s that rip off drivers, I recently got a ticket through the mail after reviewing the tape, it showed I stopped and proceeded to go through the light, to turn and still had to pay the ticket fee. The town is a big rip off I feel sorry for the people who live there , I refuse to even drive anywhere near the town.

  • Bob

    D Welsh was originally a cop. A bad, corrupt one at that. How he rose to be mayor is appalling. It will be a good day when they indict this corrupt individual and even a better day when they send him to jail.

  • Kevin L. Warmack, E.J.D.

    This doesn’t surprise me. Mayor Welsh has been at this for quite some time and has not been checked by his City Council. Because of the views of Harvey, other South Suburbs are next.K


Related Stories


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 524 other followers