Dolton, Ill. (ECWd) –
Edit: 7-31-2023: Thornton Township Supervisor Henyard responded to our questions with this statement claiming it was a mistake and was never paid. There is no indication what the “11/4 fundraiser” was the DJ performed at, and we know her campaign fund does not indicate any payments for this timeframe to a DJ.:
Thank you for your recent article. As you can imagine, I was not aware of this issue before you reached out and was concerned given my clear direction and our operating policies that assure taxpayer dollars are not used for political purposes. I only wished you had given me a bit more time between your initial contact and publishing your story to ensure your readers had all the facts.
As pointed out in your article, there was an item on an invoice from the DJ Experience that included a line item stating “11/4 fundraiser.” Upon learning of this line item, I immediately requested that the Township attorney investigate why this line item was on a Thornton Township invoice, how it may have gotten there and asked that they ensure no taxpayer dollars were used for a political event. During their inquiry, it was learned that the DJ Experience made a mistake and accidentally included on the Township’s invoice work that he was performing in a private capacity for another party. The DJ Experience confirmed, in writing, that they did not charge the Township for any work on, for, or at the “11/4 fundraiser.” The services for the fundraiser were paid by the DJ Experience’s customer prior to the November 15, 2023 invoice being sent to the Township.
As a result of the inquiry, the Township is evaluating and revising its accounts payable procedures to ensure that Township funds are spent in accordance with law and that invoices presented for payment are accurate. I do appreciate you bringing this to our attention so that we could look into it further and ensure no taxpayer dollars were used for political activities. My team and I will continue working to ensure accuracy and accountability.
At a minimum, this shows the complete lack of township trustees in performing their judiciary duty to the taxpayers of the township. The invoice was previously submitted and paid as-is, and only after our below article was there a “mistake” on the invoice. It should have been questioned during the meeting.
Tiffany Henyard, Thornton Township Supervisor and Mayor of Dolton, Illinois, held a political fundraiser for her “Friends of Tiffany Henyard” political campaign last November 4, 2022, at Olivia’s Restaurants in Dolton, Illinois.
The cost to attend this political fundraiser ranged from $150 for a single “entrance ticket” to $20,000 for “sponsorship.” Incidentally, there are no reports filed with the State Board of Elections reflecting any donations for this fundraiser (we checked the website prior to publication).
During the course of her fundraiser, Henyard presented, or caused to be presented, an invoice to the Thornton Township Trustees for payment of various DJ work performed by “The DJ Experience” – the invoice indicated DJ services to Thornton Township in the amount of $5,500.00. There is no indication of a dollar amount per event, simply a total.
Incidentally, this invoice was dated six weeks prior to some services being performed.
Two of the “service” dates were November 4 and were listed on the invoice as “Township Events” and “Fundraiser.”
It is our opinion, that each and every Thornton Township taxpayer and each elected official of every public body within Thornton Township should be contacting their police and sheriff departments to file complaints of alleged illegal use of township public funds for this political fundraiser. Anything short of that is acquiescence to Henyard’s corrupt activities.
The use of public funds for political campaign-related services violates the Illinois Constitution and other Illinois laws and needs to be prosecuted.
The Township Board needs to be extra diligent to ensure they are not paying these invoices for non-public and non-township purposes. Just because they vote to approve payment does not make the invoice legitimate.
From the Illinois Constitution, Article VIII, Section 1:
(a) Public funds, property or credit shall be used only for public purposes. (b) The State, units of local government and school districts shall incur obligations for payment or make payments from public funds only as authorized by law or ordinance.
There is no public purpose for public funds to be spent on a political campaign fundraiser for Friends of Tiffany Henyard or anyone else.
We reached out to Thornton Township officials, including Kieth Freeman (the township and village administrator), for comment but have not received a response.