Illinois mayor shuts down local businesses that don’t contribute to her campaign, dresses like a movie gangster: citizens (2024)

DOLTON, Illinois — Mayor Tiffany Henyard attends meetings dressed as a movie gangster and her constituents say she plays the part — retaliating against them unless they do her bidding, The Post can reveal.

Henyard channeled drug kingpin Nino Brown from the 1991 gangster movie “New Jack City” at a 2023 gathering, an ensemble meant to intimidate, her critics claimed this week.

“People look at politics like a joke, it’s like a mockery right now because of all this stuff,” Village of Dolton Trustee Kiana Belcher told The Post. “She comes to board meetings dressed like Nino Brown.”

During one meeting, Henyard, 40, dressed in the ensemble, signaled for a DJ to blare Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money” as she sashayed around the room to underline a point she was making, sources said.

Henyard committed to the character, carrying a small stuffed dog to evoke a scene from the 1991 crime classic where Nino menaces and batters an underling, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The former burger joint owner-turned-local politician is under fire for allegedly plundering Dolton’s coffers for personal extravagances, and using law enforcement allies to oppress opponents.

Lawrence Gardner, 57, told The Post Friday that Henyard shut down his trucking business because he refused to renew a $3,500 contribution to her political war chest.

Gardner claimed he made an initial donation to Henyard, but her minions kept coming back for more.

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“I made the payment,” he said. “Then every year, she started coming and required the same thing, and we had a problem about that.”

When he refused, Gardner said, city officials fabricated claims that he was illegally selling alcohol and yanked his business license.

“What is she, Nino Brown?” he said. “Anything she wants done, she gets them to harass you. She likes nobody. If you are not doing what she say, if you are not doing how she’s saying to do it, you are a problem. She don’t like them.”

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Gardner said Henyard and Village of Dolton Police Chief Lewis Lacey have blocked dozens of local businesses from operating because they failed to make the required payments.

The Post heard similar stories from numerous locals who claimed they had been harassed by police acting on Henyard’s orders.

Belcher also said former Dolton Police Chief Robert Collins admitted to her that the mayor had asked him to target people.

Henyard’s office did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment Friday.

Belcher also said Henyard is averse to working mornings.

“She doesn’t wake up until after 10. I knew her before, she’s not a morning person. She’s a late-night person,” she said.

Former Dolton Mayor Riley Rogers, who lost to Henyard in 2021, questioned her sprawling security detail and alleged profligate spending.

“Some people take it as being glamorous by having a bunch of police officers around you and being escorted and being driven around,” he said. “I never had a security detail as mayor.”

Like other locals, Rogers said Henyard’s outflow of cash has come as a shock.

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“I tried to stay away from the money,” he said. “It’s not your money, so you can’t use it like it’s your piggy bank.”

Henyard, who recently met President Biden during a White House visit, has squelched inquiries into the town’s finances, critics argue.

The books are so bad, some said, that Dolton police cars might have to be repossessed.

Vocal community member Sherry Britton, 55, said she voted for Henyard — and now wishes she hadn’t.

“It was a vote that I regret,” she said. “Please put that in there! It was a vote that I regret deeply. When she got into office, she just shut everyone out and she went into the opposite direction. She became this tyrant and dictator.”

Britton speculated that Henyard is having mental issues, and compared her to rapper Kanye West.

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“It seems like her aspirations and goals are for her to be a reality star,” she said. “She didn’t [previously] wear all that makeup. She just now thinks she’s this reality star. I don’t know this for sure, but they say she is filming a reality show, becausethe cameras are always with her.”

Former trustee Valeria Stubbs, 56, has known Henyard for 15 years.

Like others, she questioned her expenditures — including more than $1 million on security and another $2 million for an ice rink that only opens when she’s hosting an event.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” she said. “And I have been involved in the political arena ever since I was 18.”

A small village of about 20,000 people just south of Chicago, Dolton is submerged under $5 million in red ink, according to reports.

Illinois mayor shuts down local businesses that don’t contribute to her campaign, dresses like a movie gangster: citizens (2024)

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