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Dolton administrator faces bankruptcy fraud charge in latest village turmoil

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(The Center Square) – Federal prosecutors charged a top administrator for two Northern Illinois taxing bodies with bankruptcy fraud in the latest sign of turmoil inside the Chicago suburb of Dolton.

Village of Dolton and Thorton Township administrator Keith Douglas Freeman, 45, of Orland Park, Illinois, faces a single county bankruptcy fraud for allegedly falsifying his income in his bankruptcy petition to hide assets and income from creditors, federal prosecutors said in an indictment.

Dolton, a village of about 20,000 people, has been the center of scandal surrounding Mayor Tiffany Henyard. Some village board members have questioned unpaid village bills, and spending on lavish trips by Henyard, which included a trip to Las Vegas that cost more than $12,000. They have also inquired about hundreds of thousands of dollars in police overtime for the mayor’s personal security detail, and an allegation that she refused to renew a business license because the owner refused to donate to a civic event sponsored by Henyard. The FBI and former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot are investigating issues surrounding Henyard’s spending and activities. Henyard has denied wrongdoing. Henyard is also the supervisor of Thorton Township.

When Freeman filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Chicago in January prosecutors said he made several false statements and omissions on federal forms and underreported income from his job as both the village administrator for Dolton and the municipality manager for Thornton Township and money he made from a private consulting business, according to the indictment.

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

Freeman further gave the Chapter 7 Trustee with a copy of his 2022 individual income tax return, which listed his total income at $45,186. At the time, Freeman’s salary as village administrator for Dolton was about $195,000 a year in 2023. His Thornton Township salary was about $70,000 a year, according to the indictment. He also made money from consulting fees.

Prosecutors said that during a Jan. 30 meeting with creditors, Freeman said he was not an employee of Dolton and that he did not receive payment from Dolton. In February, Freeman had his pay from Dolton directly deposited into a recently opened bank account that he had not disclosed to the creditors, according to prosecutors.

The three attorneys who handled Freeman’s bankruptcy no longer represent him, according to court records. No attorney was listed for Freeman in the fraud case. Freeman did not respond to a voicemail left a Thornton Township and an email to his Thornton Township email address.

Bankruptcy fraud is punishable by a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

Arraignment has not yet been scheduled.