Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard accused of corruption, trustees approve call for federal investigation

Saturday, February 24, 2024
Dolton trustees will ask feds to investigate mayor for corruption
Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyad has been accused of corruption. Village trustees approved a resolution to ask for a federal investigation.

DOLTON, Ill. (WLS) -- Trustees in Dolton approved a resolution to ask for a federal investigation into Mayor Tiffany Henyard, who is accused of corruption.

Four of Mayor Henyard's six colleagues on the Dolton Village Board attended Thursday evening's meeting, and celebrated after the resolution passed.

"When I say we are here to save Dolton, I mean that," said trustee Brittney Norwood.

It's been nearly three years since Henyard was sworn in as the youngest and first woman mayor of Dolton. She now also serves as Thornton Township supervisor. Her image is prominently displayed outside village hall.

The Illinois Answers Project takes a closer look at demands for a federal investigation into south suburban mayor Tiffany Henyard.

But she is now at the center of allegations of corruption and political retaliation, being lobbed at her by trustees, business owners and even the attorney general's office.

"She has taken lavish trips with village staff, and has caused the village to be in a multi-million dollar deficit," said Trustee Jason House.

They say Henyard has used the village coffers as a personal piggy bank while Dolton's unpaid bills have piled up.

"There's a lot of mismanagement of funds and we just want some clarity so we can move forward and understand what's going on with all the spending," said Kiana Belcher, Dolton trustee.

"It is a deadly sin that you could have lost six of your police cars, and when you lose police cars you lose police officers too, but she chose to keep her payments on her security detail," said Burt Odelson, legislative counsel for the Dolton Board of Trustees.

"We cannot survive like this," Norwood said. "We have vendors calling us every day for nonpayment."

Residents who packed into the Park District room for the meeting were furious, and rallied loudly against their mayor.

Running a business in Dolton has also been getting harder. Multiple businesses have been shut down recently over unresolved licensing issues, including Lawrence Gardner's trucking company. It has been sitting idle since January of 2023 when the village accused him of selling liquor without a license during a party that was being hosted there. He denies the allegation, with a judge ruling in his favor, and has other ideas about why the action may have been taken.

"Because I wouldn't donate the money anymore. I wouldn't give her any more money," he said.

Gardner said he is among several business owners who, shortly after Henyard took office, complied with her request for a $3,500 donation to the village. While the FBI won't confirm they are investigating the mayor, Gardner said he's been talking to them for months.

"I've been talking to them periodically and they said there was multiple agencies investigating Dolton and Mayor Henyard, so be patient," he said.

And then there is Mayor Henyard's namesake charity, Tiffany Henyard Cares. On Wednesday, the Illinois Attorney General's Office sent a cease and desist letter over the foundation's failure to report how it spends funds and who has benefited.

A spokesperson for the village and Mayor Henyard said they are not aware of any investigations against her, and released a statement saying in part, "Mayor Tiffany Henyard and the Village of Dolton have not received any subpoenas and have not been contacted by the FBI or any other law enforcement agency."

For her part Mayor Henyard accused her colleagues of false allegations and filing multi-million dollar lawsuits at taxpayers' expense. The village administrator saying in part "the residents deserve better than this circus."