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State lawmaker under federal investigation reacts to Dolton officials being charged and accused

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(The Center Square) – A state legislator responding Wednesday to news of Dolton village officials being investigated for possible corruption and one being charged with fraud said it’s up to authorities to investigate the alleged crimes.

Tiffany Henyard, mayor of Dolton, is accused of misconduct, corruption, sexual harassment and retaliation against opponents by some in her village. Separately, a senior administrator for the village, Keith Douglas Freeman of Orland Park, has been charged with federal bankruptcy fraud.

State Rep. Thaddeus Jones, D-Calumet City, who is also the mayor of Calumet City, was asked to react to the Henyard scandal and Freeman’s charges. Calumet City is 10 minutes west of Dolton and Jones’ house district includes the village of Dolton.

“I heard Tiffany Henyard is down here in Springfield so ask her that question. I will just say let’s leave this to the authorities to investigate,” Jones told The Center Square.

Henyard is accused of weaponizing police in what critics say is retaliatory business raids and spending taxpayer money on luxurious trips. Now she is facing investigation by the Dolton trustees as well as the FBI. The investigation conducted by the trustees is being spearheaded by former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Attempts by The Center Square were made to find Henyard, but she couldn’t be located for comment. The Center Square requested comment and Henyard’s office did not immediately respond.

Freeman, the top aide to the Dolton mayor, was indicted on bankruptcy fraud charges Tuesday. A federal indictment says Freeman failed to report his income from the Village of Dolton. Freeman also allegedly hid his income during bankruptcy proceedings.

Jones did not say if he has heard from constituents about concerns of corruption being exhibited by municipal officials in his district.

Several residents of Dolton took to the microphone at a recent village board meeting, expressing their frustration with Henyard not stepping down as mayor amid the allegations. Dolton resident Mary Avon said she wants Henyard to step down pending the outcome of the investigation.

“In light of the allegations, I as a resident of Dolton, former law enforcement and female along with other Dolton residents would like to see you have some integrity and step down pending the outcome of this investigation,” Avon said at the board meeting held on April 1. “To our attorney, it is a disgrace you will not explain to this body what the rules of the First Amendment are … total violation.”

Residents tried to clap for public commenters who spoke at the regular village board meeting held on April 1, but they were told by an officer to stop for “safety reasons.”

When asked if constituents from the area have concerns about their officials following the laws, Jones said he didn’t know Freeman.

“Let the authorities investigate this. I don’t want to impede an investigation. I will say I don’t know Keith Freeman,” Jones said. “Never met him and I don’t want to meet him. Let’s just let the authorities investigate this.”

When asked if Jones’ constituents would contact him with their concerns about officials being charged with fraud and corruption considering his own federal investigation regarding campaign finance, Jones said he’s in Springfield “doing the work of the people.”

“I am down here doing the work of the people and I will leave that to the authorities to investigate,” said Jones.

Jones said it’s not true that constituents aren’t calling him with concerns regarding political corruption.

The U.S. attorney’s office issued a grand jury subpoena in January 2022 to the Illinois State Board of Elections seeking records on three campaign funds controlled by Jones, according to a copy of the subpoena provided to the Chicago Tribune via an open records request. Jones is under criminal investigation for tax issues involving his campaign funds.