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FBI searches village hall in Dolton, Illinois in court-authorized action

Some trustees relieved after FBI searches Dolton, Illinois village hall
Some trustees relieved after FBI searches Dolton, Illinois village hall 02:34

DOLTON, Ill. (CBS) -- The FBI searched Dolton Village Hall Friday afternoon in a court-authorized law enforcement action.

Shaky cellphone video showed four plainclothes FBI agents Friday in the lobby of the Dolton Village Hall. When federal agents unexpectedly popped in, it caught many by surprise.

But others – including some village trustees, were not sorry to see it happen at all.

"I felt a sigh of relief," said Trustee Brittney Norwood.

"I'm overjoyed that finally, someone has heard our cry," said Trustee Tammy Brown.

The investigation comes amid months of controversy and divisiveness swirling in the south suburb, over allegations of mismanagement and misconduct involving village officials—including the mayor.

FBI conducts "court-authorized, investigative activity" at village hall in Dolton, Illinois 01:54

Several Dolton village trustees have requested the feds start a probe into what they called mismanagement of funds.

"We may soon be provided with some answers," said Norwood. "We haven't received financials since September."

The concerns center around Mayor Tiffany Henyard and her administration's lack of transparency.

"Things are supposed to come by the board for approval," said Brown. "Nothing comes by the board for approval."

While the feds came to the village hall, the federal government will not say specifically what brought them. An FBI spokesperson told CBS 2 that "court-authorized, investigative activity" was the nature what they were doing—but would not elaborate on who is being investigated.

"No, they do not show up for nothing," Brown said. "When they come, they got it all in the bag already—and they know what they're looking for."

Last week, the Dolton Board of Trustees hired former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to investigate Henyard amid the that Henyard misused public funds.

The Dolton mayor has been accused of doing so while the village is millions of dollars in debt—including lavish personal spending, reportedly on the taxpayers' dime.

Lightfoot is tasked with investigating those claims, and also a village employee's claims that she was sexually assaulted by a Dolton village trustee on a trip to Las Vegas – and then retaliated against. The employee claimed after she told the mayor about the lawsuit, she was eventually fired.

It was not known late Friday whether the FBI presence at the Dolton Village Hall was related to Mayor Henyard in any way.

This week, Dolton Village Administrator Keith Freeman was indicted on federal bankruptcy fraud charges accusing him of falsifying his income to his creditors in a bankruptcy filing earlier this year.

Freeman, 45, was charged with one count of bankruptcy fraud, and faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

Freeman has been the Dolton Village Administrator since January 2022, and has been Thornton Township Manager since March 2022.

The feds' visit could also be related to Freeman—it is unclear.

"It could be," said Brown. "But until we know that, I think Administrator Freeman should be terminated."

The news of the FBI in town brought out residents with their phones—wondering if anyone was in custody. Yet trustees want residents wo realize the probe will not be swift.

"We know it's a process for everything, because when you come, you've got to have all your ducks in a row," said Brown.

CBS 2 reached out to Mayor Henyard and her administration about what happened at village hall on Friday. There had been no response Friday night.

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