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Waste of the Day: Embattled Illinois Mayor’s Sky-High Salary Revealed

Topline: Residents of Dolton, Ill. have called Tiffany Henyard “America’s worst mayor,” and opinion writers at the Chicago Tribune called Henyard’s salary “out of whack” based on reports she would take home $277,000 in one year.

The double-dipping mayor

But Mayor Henyard actually took home a shocking $365,000 in total compensation last year — more than double any other official in her township — according to an open records request filed by OpenTheBooks.com.

Waste of the Day: Embattled Illinois Mayor’s Sky-High Salary Revealed
Waste of the Day 5.13.24 by Open the Books

Key facts: Henyard made at least $307,000 in gross earnings last year as the supervisor of Thornton Township, which includes Dolton. Then she double-dipped and made a $58,000 salary as mayor.

The next-highest paid employee in the township made $187,000. More than half of the other township supervisors near Chicago make less than $30,000.

In an odd twist, Thornton’s next supervisor will only make $25,000 – if it is not Henyard. The township’s board passed a law that will lower officials’ salaries only if the current board is not reelected, which critics claim is part of Henyard’s effort to run unopposed.

Attorney Burt Odelson, Henyard’s political rival, told Fox32 Chicago it’s “illegal in so many ways.”

The noted Edgar County Watchdogs have filed three Freedom of Information Act lawsuits demanding the details of Henyard’s compensation. Thornton Township recently settled their case and is currently producing payments, W-2’s, and other details so investigators can follow the money.

Henyard stopped an investigation – of herself

Background: In March, Henyard vetoed a resolution that all four trustees supported to investigate the mayor’s purported misuse of funds, demanding her to submit the village’s financial records and calling for an FBI investigation

Then in April, the Village of Dolton – which is one of the many communities that comprise the township, which itself is part of Cook County – hired ex-Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot for $400 an hour to investigate Henyard.

It’s a steep price tag for a process that might not accomplish much — Henyard herself can veto the investigation, and Lightfoot has no actual legal power — but it pales in comparison to the money Henyard has wasted since she took office in 2021.

The controversy began when Henyard hired her campaign staffer and convicted child sex offender Lavelle Redmond as the village’s code enforcement officer.

A recall vote last June would have removed Henyard from office, but she had it thrown out in court on a technicality — and celebrated at her next board meeting with a disco singalong.

This April, Henyard was sued by a former employee who says she was fired after accusing a village trustee of sexual assault during a work trip to Las Vegas.

WGN9 Chicago reported that Henyard spent almost $103,000 on travel in the past year, including first-class flights for up to $3,741 per ticket.

Billing the city for personal services for herself

She also billed the city $7,650 for “assistants” who did her hair and makeup for two months and spent hundreds of thousands on her security detail, including paying one guard $13,000 for supposedly working 303 hours in two weeks.

Supporting quote: Fox News reported on a public township meeting in April where Henyard denied all wrongdoing.

“Everybody wanted to continue to be a s–tshow and not really show facts as it relates to what’s really going on in our township,” Henyard said. “Guess what? I am the youth, I am the future, no matter what you think or may say.”

Summary: Lightfoot’s investigation might not have legal authority, but the FBI’s visit to Dolton village hall certainly does. There’s no official confirmation that the visit was related to Henyard, but her situation could soon become much more serious.

The #WasteOfTheDay is brought to you by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com

This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.

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