Gov. Pritzker weighs in on Dolton saga, answers questions on if state should intervene

Speaking to reporters at an unrelated event, Pritzker said he's looked into the role the state should or could play in Dolton's political disruption

NBC Universal, Inc.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday addressed growing issues in suburban Dolton, including the controversy surrounding Mayor Tiffany Henyard and the chaos that has unfolded in recent months.

Speaking to reporters at an unrelated event, Pritzker said he's looked into the role the state should or could play in the saga.

"We’ve looked into whether we ought to put resources, whether it’s state police and their anti-corruption efforts or asking the Attorney General," Pritzker said. "The reality is there are already two pretty significant investigations going on. We’ll support them in every way we can, but it’s just a matter if you want everybody running over each other in those investigations, or do you want two concerted efforts to get the facts?"

Pritzker's comments come during a week of turmoil in the Chicago suburb.

A village board meeting turned heated Monday as trustees voted to override a veto by Henyard that would have kept former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot from conducting an independent investigation on Henyard and the spending of village funds.

"I commend the Village of Dolton Board of Trustees for decisively exercising their authority to override Mayor Henyard's veto and preventing any attempts to stall an independent investigation into the matters outlined in the resolution," Lightfoot said in a statement issued through a spokesperson following the board's vote. 

Henyard has been accused of misspending and is at the center of a number of lawsuits and a wide-ranging federal investigation.

"The federal authorities are involved and investigating. There is an investigation that’s been called for, and a veto that’s been overridden, that will not allow that investigation to go forward with former Mayor Lori Lightfoot in charge," Pritzker said. "I think those are two pretty good authorities for looking into this investigation and looking into this and getting to the truth. We’ll support them."

Dolton's struggles are also impacting nearby communities where Henyard also has a leadership role.

Henyard has dual roles as Dolton mayor and Thornton Township supervisor. The mayor of Markham is questioning her decisions and her leadership.

"I am standing here with the full support of the government here, and I don't see that happening in Thornton or Dolton … and that brings about mistrust about how things are being done," said Mayor Roger Agpawa. "We have done our due diligence to try to work with the supervisor."

Seventeen south suburban communities make up Thornton Township, which is also a taxing body, and the township is currently without a budget. It was supposed to be approved May 31 but was tabled.

"We don't want taxation without good representation, and we don't believe that is happening," Agpawa said. "That budget needs to be looked into much deeper. They need to take a hard look at what is happening."

Questions are also being raised about Henyard using taxpayer dollars for personal expenses, including her personal make-up artist.

An itemized payroll sheet for the township sent to NBC Chicago from May of last year lists Brandon Momon as an administrative assistant, but when we reached out to him, he told us he's Henyard’s make-up artist.

"It is just once again a long series of things done incorrectly – or possibly illegally," said Chris Gonzalez, a Thornton Township trustee.

NBC Chicago reached out to Henyard's administration for comment but did not hear back.

Contact Us