Home News Dolton trustees may hire former Chicago mayor for Henyard probe

Dolton trustees may hire former Chicago mayor for Henyard probe

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Some Dolton trustees want to hire former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot as an outside attorney as they push for investigations into the spending of Mayor Tiffany Henyard, who they allege has mismanaged village finances.

The hiring of Lightfoot, who was Chicago’s mayor from 2019-2023, is on the agenda for a special Village Board meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday.

What Lightfoot’s duties would be, how much she would be paid and who would pay for her services were uncertain, and village trustees did not immediately provide more details about the planned hiring.

She does not work for a law enforcement agency and would apparently not have any authority to subpoena village records or other information related to village operations or finances.

The action comes as Cook County records show Henyard is delinquent in paying about $3,000 in property taxes on her village home.

The special meeting is set to take place at 6:30 p.m. at a Dolton Park District building at 14700 Evers Ave.

The agenda calls for hiring Lightfoot and agreeing to pay her for her services.

Former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks at the City Club in Chicago Jan. 18, 2024. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune)
Former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks at the City Club in Chicago Jan. 18, 2024. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune)

Lightfoot, previously an attorney with the powerful Chicago law firm of Mayer Brown and Chicago’s first Black female and openly gay mayor, lost her bid for a second term in last year’s primary.

Dolton trustees Kiana Belcher, Tammie Brown, Jason House and Brittney Norwood called for Monday’s meeting after voting to end an April 1 meeting, where a large crowd attended and some people were not allowed into the meeting room.

The regularly scheduled meeting April 1 dissolved into chaos, with the four trustees voting to end the session and walking out, while Henyard attempted to continue the meeting, after having police clear the public and media from the Village Hall meeting room.

On the agenda was an item to override a March 4 veto by Henyard of a resolution approved by the four trustees calling for an outside investigation of Henyard.

They held a special Village Board meeting Feb. 22 at a Dolton Park District facility. Village Clerk Alison Key also participated. Henyard did not attend.

Their resolution asked agencies such as the FBI, U.S. attorney, Cook County sheriff and Cook County state’s attorney to step in and investigate Henyard.

Apart from an agreement to hire Lightfoot and a separate agreement to pay her for her work, the agenda for Monday’s special meeting includes an item to pay a purchase agreement with the state for rock salt for deicing village streets.

Henyard has missed the last two installments of property taxes on her home in the 14600 block of State Street, according to the Cook County treasurer’s office, and records also show that delinquent taxes owed for the 2021 tax year were bought.

Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard owes about $3,000 in back taxes on her home in the village, according to Cook County records. (Mike Nolan/Daily Southtown)
Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard owes about $3,000 in back taxes on her home in the village, according to Cook County records. (Mike Nolan/Daily Southtown)

An outside public relations firm retained by the village, which media have been directed to contact for questions about the mayor and village, did not respond to a request for response to the property tax issue.

Trustees who are at odds with Henyard have criticized her for not being forthcoming about the state of village finances and how village funds are being spent, and say they’ve not been provided with a complete accounting of the village’s financial condition.

They have repeatedly said they are often contacted by vendors that performed work for the village but wait for payments weeks or months after work is completed. Also, they say vendors are hired for jobs without their approval at Village Board meetings.

In her role as Dolton mayor, Henyard earns a yearly salary of $46,000, but she is also supervisor for Thornton Township, which pays her $224,000 annually.

County tax records show she paid the first installment of 2022 taxes, billed in 2023, on a modest 1,300-square-foot home that has an assessed value of $111,000.

However, she missed the second installment, due Dec. 1 of last year, of just under $1,300 and the missed payment has accrued about $97 in interest, according to the county treasurer.

Henyard then failed to pay the first installment of 2023 taxes, billed this year and due March 1, for $1,600, records show.



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