DOLTON, Ill. — Trustees with the Village of Dolton held a special board meeting Thursday night where they approved a resolution calling for an investigation into Mayor Tiffany Henyard.

“This meeting is an attempt for this legislative board to save Dolton,” Trustee Brittney Norwood said.

The meeting was held in a Dolton Park District facility because trustees said they, along with sworn clerks, have been denied access keys to the Village Hall. Trustees passed a resolution Thursday night to change that.

As WGN Investigates has reported, Henyard and other elected leaders in the village are facing mounting criticism over questionable spending and unpaid bills.

Neither Henyard or her two close allies on the Village of Dolton Board of Trustees were present at the special board meeting.

“We are doing what is legal, we are doing what is right for the community, and we will continue to fight for you,” Trustee Kiana Belcher said.

Senior Trustee Jason House said the board has evidence Henyard misused village funds, credit cards, made payments to vendors that were not approved by the board, refused to pay vendor invoices, and has stamped the village clerk’s name on payments without authorization.

The resolution also accused Henyard of issuing checks without the needed countersigners.

“There are many things that have not surfaced the public does not know yet. If you think you’re in shock, just hold on,” Burt Odelson, legislative counsel for the Village of Dolton Board of Trustees, said.

A copy of the resolution, which also detailed other allegations, will now be provided to the Cook County State’s Attorney, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, the Cook County Sheriff and the Illinois State Board of Elections for investigation.

“The Board of Trustees have received evidence that Mayor Henyard has improperly appointed village employees without Village Board advice and consent; has hired convicted felons; has used police personnel for her own personal security detail which has caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of overtime within the police department; has taken lavish trips with Village staff; and has caused the Village to be in a multi-million dollar deficit,” the resolution read.

“I’ve been here for 25-plus years, and I don’t like what’s happening, and something has to be done to stop it,” resident Mary Avent said.

“The agenda is really hard-hitting and something we needed to happen because it’s a mess,” resident Sherry Britton said.

Britton and several other longtime residents who spoke with WGN News ahead of the meeting said they support an investigation into Henyard, with resident Thelma Gant calling it ‘overdue.’

“The mayor could end all this right now if she could just be honest and transparent with this money,” Gant said.

Also at Thursday night’s special board meeting, a resolution was passed ordering the Village Administrator and Finance Director to turn over all receipts of payments made by the village for any reason, including Las Vegas expenses, the mayor’s Tahoe car payments and security detail dating back to June 1, 2021.

If the records from January 1, 2023, are not tendered within seven days to the board of trustees, and the remaining dating back to June 2021 are not turned over in two weeks, the agenda alleges the Village Administrator, Keith Freeman, will face immediate suspension or termination.

WGN reached out to Freeman Thursday for comment and has not yet heard back.

The resolution passed Thursday night at the special board meeting accused Henyard of refusing to allow the Board of Trustees, tasked with overseeing finances, access to financial records, including bank statements, payroll records, credit card statements, or documents concerning the Village budget, tax revenue and tax levies.

“The last financial reporting we received is September of 2023,” said House.

“It’s their job to watch the money and so, who is the mayor and her administration to take that right away from them,” said Britton.

After WGN Investigates reported on the south suburban mayor and her allies spending taxpayer money on first-class airline tickets, luxury hotels and high-end restaurants, it sent a public records request to Dolton asking for, among other things, copies of additional credit card statements and receipt of any payments sent to Henyard.

No response was received.

“They went to Vegas and nothing ever came of it. We never got anything from them and what they were going for,” Britton said.

WGN Investigates filed an appeal with the Illinois Attorney General, which recently issued a rare binding opinion on Feb. 9.

“In the opinion, the Village of Dolton is directed to respond as soon as possible to the request,” a spokeswoman for Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in an email. “The village has 35 days after the issuance of the opinion to either comply or contest the opinion in court.”

Most recently, the Illinois Attorney General ordered Henyard’s charity to stop soliciting money because it has failed to report how it spends funds and who has benefited, WGN Investigates learned.  

Just last week, the village was in the spotlight again, after a letter from the bank said agents would be sent to begin repossessing vehicles due to failure to make a massive payment.

According to the letter dated Feb. 14, 2024, representatives from KS StateBank threatened to take possession of more than a dozen village vehicles, which includes six police cruisers, after the village failed to make a payment of more than $76,000 on the vehicles’ loan some nine months ago.

Several trustees who spoke with WGN-TV and legislative counsel for the Village of Dolton Board of Trustees, said the payment was authorized by the board in May 2023 and they were not aware it hadn’t been made.

One day after WGN’s report aired, House told WGN-TV he was informed by the bank that the village promised to overnight the payment in the full amount, so it could keep the vehicles for now.

“It’s unnerving. It’s like a kid with their first checking account and they don’t realize that they have to balance the books,” Avent said.

“They’re not paying the bills, when they do get approved, they’re not being paid,” Gant said. “Come on now, we’ve been dealing with this for two years. When is the FBI going to swoop in and stop this, because this woman is just destroying the foundation of Dolton.”

WGN Investigates is told the FBI has spoken with some of the people featured in previous WGN Investigates reports who claim they were victims of retaliation for not supporting Henyard.

Residents WGN spoke with said they are pleading with someone from the state to step in and help before it is too late.

“We need to start demanding that the powers that be step in,” Britton said. “Some of the people that are standing and watching us go through this. They have elections, too.”