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Country Club Hills Expected To Cancel Mayor's Credit Card

COUNTRY CLUB HILLS, Ill. (CBS) -- The City Council in south suburban Country Club Hills is expected to cut its mayor's credit card in half Monday, after a lot of questionable spending.

As WBBM Newsradio 780's Bernie Tafoya reports, some Country Club Hills aldermen do not think Mayor Dwight Welch has used his city-owned credit card wisely. They think the card should be canceled.

The move comes after the SouthtownStar reported the mayor and former city manager Henrietta Turner charged more than $75,000 at restaurants and at least $2,000 worth of movie tickets in 2010.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780's Bernie Tafoya reports


Among other expenses, the mayor spent thousands on evening wear, tickets to musicals and a trip to a water park in Gurnee, according to a SouthtownStar analysis of Welch's and Turner's credit card statements.

Ald. Steven Burris (4th), a longtime opponent of Welch, said the move is an attempt to keep Welch's "excess spending down."

"If you are going to keep charging, you can use your own credit card, submit your own invoices, and we'll make sure they're city-related," Burris said. "If it's not city related, we'll have the city attorney look at it."

Ald. Vince Lockett (2nd), another Welch opponent, said the only city credit card would belong to finance department senior accountant Nina Guzzo. She would have one in case of emergencies. Lockett added that he expects Welch, who makes $145,000 as mayor and liquor commissioner, to pay back all charges that exceeded his $36,000 expense account.

If Welch does not repay the money, Lockett said he will urge Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to investigate Welch's spending habits. Spokespersons for Madigan and Alvarez declined comment Friday.

The city council voted earlier this month to cancel city-issued credit cards belonging to Turner and all department heads. Turner and 12 other city employees were also laid off during that meeting.

Welch declined to comment Friday.

The SouthtownStar contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire

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