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Dolton Village Trustee Tiffany Henyard Gives Away Gas For Free Amid Run For Mayor; Spokesperson Denies It's For Votes

DOLTON, Ill. (CBS) -- It's campaign season in south suburban Dolton, and one mayoral candidate kicked it off by giving away gas for free.

As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported, that gift could come back to haunt her.

The gas giveaway took place at a Food 4 Less in Dolton. It was billed as kicking off the mayoral campaign of Dolton Village Trustee Tiffany Henyard.

You needed a Dolton ID to get the gas.

Some legal experts with whom we spoke said if the gas giveaway didn't cross the legal line, it definitely stood right on it.

"And whenever you tell me you need to do something, I show up and do it – by giving gas," Henyard said as she enthusiastically pitched Sunday's free gas giveaway on her Tiffany for Mayor Facebook page on Saturday.

Twenty-four hours later, the takers showed up in droves. A news release touting the gift of free gas stated that essential workers would be given priority – but anyone with a Dolton address would be eligible too.

"It is probably illegal," said Reform Illinois Board Member David Melton. "Technically, to prove that it's illegal, you would have to prove that her intent was to exchange those gas credits for votes."

So what was trustee Henyard's intent, less than three months before Dolton's election? Henyard's spokesperson said she used her own money – but when asked if Henyard's intent was to exchange gas for votes or if she was aware she may be breaking the law, her spokesperson first said she would get back to Kozlov.

Late Monday night, the spokesperson did get back to us, denying that the gas giveaway was an attempt to buy votes.

Henyard has given away gas before – in November. She also has been the subject of a past CBS 2 investigation, after one of her former tenants accused the village trustee of failing to remedy a massive mold problem in a Section 8 house she owns – which raised even more concerns about the house's inspection history.

Henyard referred questions to her attorney about that issue back at the time. She was unavailable to talk with us about the gas giveaway too.

"I would say it's inappropriate conduct, regardless of whether it's still technically illegal," Melton said.

If there are questions about the legality of that giveaway, it would still be up to the Cook County State's Attorney's office or the Board of Elections to take any action.

Four candidates running for other Dolton offices were billed as being part of Sunday's giveaway as well.

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