Senior admin. for Dolton, Thornton Township charged with bankruptcy fraud

Charge comes just days after unrelated lawsuit filed against Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard, Village Trustee Andrew Holmes

Liz Nagy Image
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Senior admin. for Dolton, Thornton Twp. charged with bankruptcy fraud
The charge comes just days after an unrelated lawsuit was filed against Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard and Village Trustee Andrew Holmes.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A senior administrator for both the village of Dolton and Thornton Township has been charged in federal court with engaging in a bankruptcy fraud scheme, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois said in a news release Tuesday.

Keith Douglas Freeman, 45, of Orland Park has been charged with bankruptcy fraud involving making false statements in his bankruptcy petition to conceal his assets and sources of income and a significant claim against him from creditors, the release said.

The indictment returned Monday, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The charge is punishable by a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. An arraignment date has not yet been set.

READ MORE: Lori Lightfoot hired to investigate Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard

The officials noted that Freeman was indicted as part of an ongoing federal investigation.

According to the indictment, Freeman filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago on Jan. 3.

The indictment alleges that Freeman made several false statements and omissions in the document, including knowingly underreporting income from his employment as both the village administrator for Dolton and the municipality manager for Thornton Township, as well as fees he received from his private consulting business.

Freeman also allegedly concealed that the village of Robbins had filed a claim against him related to about $90,396 that he received in addition to his authorized salary while he was the village administrator for Robbins, a position he held from 2017 to 2021.

Freeman also submitted an alleged copy of his 2022 individual income tax return, which represented that Freeman's total income from employment was $45,186.

READ MORE | 3 former employees sue Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard for wrongful firing amid corruption accusations

The indictment states that Freeman knew he had not filed an income tax return for that year, and that his actual income, which included a $100,000 salary for the Dolton position alone, was much more.

On Jan. 30, while testifying under oath at a meeting of creditors, Freeman allegedly falsely represented that he was not an employee of Dolton and that he did not receive payment from Dolton, the indictment states.

The following month, Freeman allegedly caused his pay from Dolton to be directly deposited into a recently opened bank account that he had not disclosed.

Freeman is in charge of running the day-to-day in neighboring south suburban communities.

"If he can't handle his own business, how in the world can he handle ours?" Dolton resident Valeria Staubs said. "At the next board meeting, if he shows up, I'll ask him to step down again because he's an embarrassment to this community."

A close ally of embattled Mayor Tiffany Henyard, Freeman's role has been a constant source of confusion to some Dolton trustees.

"It was a lot of controversy on whether or not he was an employee or contracted. Now they're saying that he didn't list this information, so that's a problem," Dolton Trustee Brittney Norwood said. "They took it upon themselves in the administration to make changes where he was looked as if he was contractor."

A spokesperson from the mayor's office said they are aware of the indictment, and "As this is an ongoing investigation, we will refrain from making any further comments at this time."

Longtime residents and frustrated leaders of Dolton say the federal fraud charge against Freeman is a relief.

:I hope this is the beginning of a new day for Dolton, not just for residents, but for businesses," said Dolton business owner Nicole Scott, who lives in Thornton Township.

"We've been waiting for some justice to be served," Norwood said.

ABC7 has reached out to Freeman for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

A civil lawsuit was recently filed against the mayor of Dolton and a well-known community activist over alleged roles in a sexual assault in Las Vegas.

The lawsuit alleges Dolton Village Trustee Andrew Holmes sexually assaulted a village employee during a trip to Las Vegas, and also claims Mayor Henyard retaliated against the employee and a police officer when she learned of the allegations.