DOLTON, Ill. — Dolton may be a small south suburb, with less than 21,000 residents, but WGN Investigates found its political leaders have big bills and expensive taste.
In the first of our two-part series, we reported how some residents, village employees and business owners claim Mayor Tiffany Henyard retaliates against her political opponents.
Now, we bring you the story of a spending spree that’s causing questions and concern.
“We still have areas that need trees cut, streets paved, alleys paved [and] sidewalks fixed,” said Dolton Trustee Tammie Brown. “It’s a lot that’s going on.”
And a lot that’s being spent – not on critical repairs – but on travel, meals and more.
WGN Investigates obtained copies of credit card statements that show village officials spent more than $24,000 at restaurants during a recent 12-month span. Other questionable expenditures include the streaming service Hulu and hotel rooms in Elk Grove Village and Matteson, located less than 20 miles from Dolton.
“I’ve seen the same thing and more,” said Sherry Britton, a Dolton resident who has publicly questioned officials’ spending. “You name it. They’ve done it.”
And then there’s the out-of-town travel. Records show officials have paid for flights and hotels on trips to Texas, Alabama and Missouri.
Officials also traveled to Las Vegas, most recently last May. The reason was reportedly to attend a shopping center conference, though it’s unclear if it helped Dolton land any deals.
“My take is this: If they’re going on something that is going to benefit the village, that’s fine,” said Brown, who did not visit Vegas. “But from my standpoint, these things don’t benefit the village at all.”
WGN Investigates interviewed Henyard at a recent Dolton board meeting. She denied using village credit cards and was tight-lipped when it came to disclosing details of the trip.
In addition to serving as Dolton’s mayor, Henyard is also supervisor of Thorton Township.
In all, the two government positions paid her more than $285,000 last year, records show.
WGN Investigates also obtained copies of the township’s credit card statements, too. It showed township taxpayers also spent money on the Vegas trip. Charges included more than $8,400 for hotels; $587 at Ruth’s Chris Steak House and $3,741, just on Henyard’s roundtrip flight.
During the recent interview, WGN Investigates asked Henyard if she flew first class.
“Any other questions?” was her only response.