Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved.

May 23, 2024

Country Club Hills gifting money to defunct, illegitimate Chamber of Commerce –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On September 19, 2020

Country Club Hills, IL. (ECWd) –

The Village of Country Club Hills has been giving taxpayer monies to a now-defunct, illegitimate nonprofit “Country Club Hills Chamber of Commerce” whose registration with the Secretary of State was involuntarily dissolved on March 8, 2019, and its 501(c) status revoked by the Internal Revenue Service on September 15, 2019. Both can easily be remedied by filing the proper annual reports.

In addition to the above, their link on the Village’s webpage leads to a page that does not exist.

Country Club Hills conditions, or implies it is a condition of a business license, that membership in this Chamber of Commerce is required. The membership mandate is paid to the Village with the business license fee, then the Village pays the money over to the Chamber for them to do with it as they please, according to their Business License Ordinance (pages 13 and 14).

From their Ordinance:

“A duly issued permit pursuant to the rules and regulations of this Chapter shall entitle each permittee full membership in the Country Club Hills Chamber of Commerce. The membership fee shall be paid as part and parcel of the license process. Said membership fee paid as part of the overall license fee shall be full rebated to the Country Club Hills Chamber of Commerce for their exclusive use.”

Country Club Hills in recent years has paid over to this Chamber of Commerce at least $67,000.00 – see the payment reports (here and here).

We have sent a request for records of any payments in 2020 and are awaiting a response from the Village.

Why is this an issue now? Because the Mayor of Country Club Hills, James W. Ford, had decided that a legitimate Chamber of Commerce, the Southland Black Chamber of Commerce and Industry could not conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new business in Country Club Hills (he left that message in a voicemail) unless they obtain his approval to do so – even though the city’s preferred Chamber does not legally exist, and even though this SBCOC does not conduct business in the Village, it is merely an organization who happens to have as one of its members, a business in the Village.

We also question whether or not any membership in the preferred Village Chamber were paid in 2019 and 2020 with business license renewals – if so, the Village should have, according to their Ordinance, paid those fees to the Chamber, if not, then the Village needs to update their Ordinance. If membership fees were paid, they should be refunded back to those businesses.

The SBCOC did hold a ribbon-cutting last night at the Hook and Reel Restaurant in Country Club Hills (watch it below).

Three police officers showed up in three separate police cars, as well as the mayor and other local officials. The mayor did not participate in the SBCOC ribbon-cutting but instead conducted a separate ribbon cutting of his own outside the building.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on print


  • Eric Pratt
    Posted at 15:54h, 19 September

    Sounds like “street tax”.

  • jannie
    Posted at 16:37h, 19 September


  • PK
    Posted at 19:50h, 19 September

    Two ribbon cutting ceremonies? Well, by the looks of it, the Hook and Reel does have a mighty fine menu!

  • PB
    Posted at 14:50h, 21 September

    How does a mayor think they have the authority to prevent/authorize a ribbon cutting ceremony?

    Was the “separate” ceremony requested by the business owner? If not, it sound’s like trespassing to me, but I’m guessing that was not why the police were there.