A mayor of a small, unassuming town on the outskirts of Chicago where the median income is $24K per year, has been living the life of a royal as she is deemed by critics to exhibit antics that are both corrupt (meaning, what they consider an overuse of her power) and hilarious to the point where she belongs on a comedy show like "Parks and Recreation."
Tiffany Henyard, a progressive Democrat, was elected as the Mayor of Dolton, Illinois, in the April 2021 municipal elections. She is also the supervisor of Thorton Township. For those positions, she brings home more than the state's governor – nearly $300k. She calls herself a "Super Mayor" and frequently posts messages that suggest that "God chose me."
In one of the greatest examples derided by critics, Henyard put an ordinance in place that if she lost her election to be mayor in the upcoming elections, the future mayor's salary would be reduced from over $200K to $25,000. But if Henyard wins, the salary would remain the same, Fox 32 found.
The move was seen by critics as a way of scaring away her competition.
Henyard has met criticism from her trustees on how she spends the town's money – who have demanded receipts for the charges on the town's card – and they have accused her of running up the tab for expenses without approval.
"Not only are the residents in the dark, but the trustees are in the dark," said Trustee Tammy Brown. In response to criticism such as this, Henyard posted a picture of her trustees and called them "haters."
One of the biggest criticisms came from expenses charged to the town regarding a trip to Las Vegas that was supposedly for a conference. The airfare for the trip alone cost thousands of dollars, including over $3,000 for one roundtrip ticket.
In a viral clip from WGN that some dubbed "the single greatest interview of the year," Henyard was put on the spot about credit card expenses. Her responses shocked some critics who believed it was too funny to be real.
Henyard responded by humming "mmmm" when asked whether she had been to Las Vegas by a local reporter.
"What is that? Did you fly first class to Las Vegas?" asked Ben Bradley, an investigative reporter at WGN9 regarding the $3,000+ flight.
"Any other questions?" Henyard said.
"So you're not going to answer how taxpayer dollars are being spent, that seems odd," the reporter responded.
"I just answered your questions," Henyard said.
"You said that you wouldn't answer a question about Las Vegas," the reporter said.
"You asked me a question and I responded," Henyard said.
Bradley had some follow-up questions about the nearly $400 spent at "Hot N' Juicy Crawfish" in Las Vegas and other dinners near the Las Vegas Strip that cost hundreds of dollars each.
To date, the mayor has produced two music videos that feature city workers, such as police dancing or boosting her image by being in the background as she lip-syncs the songs.
The small-town mayor's Instagram reflects that she frequently uses a professional stylist to help her with her wardrobe before making public appearances at a community event or town meeting with her trustees.
Dolton has a little bit more than 20,000 residents in the town.
She also has a makeup artist and hairdresser whom she uses before public appearances and photoshoots that are used for the county's billboards (more on that later). It is unclear how and if those vendors are compensated for their services and how much it would cost to fund dozens of outfit selections and professional styling. When Fox News asked how the services were paid for, the mayor did not immediately respond.
In addition, the Democrat "supermayor" of the town of a handful of residents has been criticized for spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on security.
Henyard can be seen arriving at town events for seniors or for a Christmas celebration like a celebrity as police officers and security take her hand and escort her in and out of the backseat of a black SUV.
Fox 32 reported that when one of their reporters tried to ask the mayor how she spends taxpayer dollars, she was removed by security.
"Dane Placko asked Henyard a few months ago about her use of tax dollars, she was quickly hustled out of the room by armed security," the outlet said.
Her use of security mystified some of her trustees who couldn't fathom why it was necessary.
"Why? Why would you need a security detail?" Trustee Tammy Brown said.
A year after her election, she faced a recall effort in which a majority of the votes wanted her cast out. The recall effort failed when a court invalidated the results.
One of the reasons the recall effort was initiated was because Henyard hired a convicted sex offender as a code enforcement officer — "a job in which he goes into Dolton homes and businesses to inspect them and make sure they are up to code," according to a Fox 32 report.
"Oh my god. Don't they supposed to do background checks before they allow
these people to in these kind of positions?" a resident said.
In response to the failed recall effort, Henyard showed up to the next board meeting blasting a disco song and began dancing on the podium.
"How y'all doin'?" she said, blaring into the microphone during an Oct. 3, 2022, meeting.
"Ain't no stoppin' us now," she sang. "We on the move! Ain't no stoppin' us now! We on the move."
It was one example of the many antics that raised eyebrows.
Jack Mac from Barstool Sports said he believed Henyard was "the funniest most corrupt politician in the United States in America" for antics he believed were an overuse of power. He also said that he believed Henyard was a real-life comedy skit, and there was a "real life ‘Parks & Rec’ situation going on" in the town.
In addition, Fox 32 found that taxpayers were responsible for billboard images of Henyard with language included that broadcast city services.
The local Fox 32 reported, "One says ‘Fresh Produce,’ another ‘Senior Services,’ and another simply says ‘We Offer General Assistance.’ There's a phone number, but you wouldn't know what it's for unless you can read the tiny letters."
The "Thornton Township paid more than $10,000 for the vinyl signs themselves and more than $12,000 to Clear Channel Outdoor Advertising for one month's rental of the billboards," Fox 32 reported.
Henyard's signs were accused of using taxpayer dollars for self-promotion.
An Illinois election attorney with 50 years of experience, Burt Odelson, told Fox 32, "When I first looked at it, I thought what's she running for now? Because that's what it shouts out."
"This is a blatant attempt to promote herself politically," Odelson said. "The township should not have paid for these if they did. And I'm sure they did."
"Well, first of all, I didn't know anything about them," said Thornton Township Trustee Chris Gonzalez.
Henyard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.