It doesn’t seem to matter. Whatever the season, we keep getting drawn back to south suburban Country Club Hills because of the financial shenanigans of its mayor.
So here we are again, this time in the dead of winter because these residents say they’ve had enough. They say there’s no accountability of the use of their tax dollars.
As we’ve reported, the Mayor Dwight Welch racked up huge restaurant bills while using the city credit card.
Then, millions went missing and couldn’t be found for a long time.
It gets worse. A $6 million dollar mistake forced the city to pay back Cook County taxes. It’s still making those payments.
And a financial audit raised serious questions about city spending.
Now it’s the IRS. An audit dinged the mayor for not paying taxes for personal use of his city vehicle. While the IRS might scare you and me, it doesn’t appear to bother the mayor. While the audit was underway, neighbors caught him gambling on a slot machine one Sunday afternoon. They had proof in pictures, including his city vehicle sitting outside of Lucky’s.
The IRS also questioned why the city snowplow is sitting in the mayor’s driveway.
The IRS demanded the mayor pay up, but somehow the city picked up the tab instead.
Lisa Evans is one of five aldermen in Country Club Hills. She’s angry over how money is spent. So angry, she’s decided to run for mayor in April. When WGN Investigates questioned how city council members missed the mayor’s IRS tab slipping by them, she said it was purposefully mislabeled something else.
Her fellow neighbors say they’re tired of picking up the tab. Some say their taxes have doubled and tripled over the years. They blame the greed and mismanagement of the mayor. They’ve had enough, to the point where this past election the town overwhelmingly voted for term limits to effectively end the mayor’s run. He legally can’t run again.
But the last election wasn’t without controversy. Security cameras over voters in the polling area had people complaining to the board of elections asking for them not only to be turned off, but just to be double-secure, covered. An investigator came out.
They weren’t covered as we found in pictures provided to WGN Investigates. After the inspector left, the cameras went back on.
The mayor wouldn’t agree to go on camera for an interview, but said he is continuing to use his car. He says it’s a perk he’s due and he plans to pay a flat amount to the IRS each year.
Yesterday, he announced he’s retiring.
The IRS also snagged an alderman for using a city car and blamed the city for poor record-keeping.
Country Club Hills says it is currently working on a new policy concerning the private use of government vehicles.