A financial battle over millions of taxpayer dollars is brewing in south suburban Country Club Hills between Mayor Dwight Welch and Treasurer Rhonda Williams.
She claims on average more than 8 million dollars is unaccounted for in the town’s books and without the records, she says, “I’m going to use the F word that there could be fraud there. Period.”
Last spring, an investigation by WGN-TV and the Better Government Association reported that the Mayor of Country Club Hills was spending taxpayer money on things like a tuxedo from Nordstrom to wear when he introduces musical acts at the debt-ridden multi-million dollar stage he had built.
Our report pressured the city council to take away all but one of the dozens of city credit cards. City Treasurer Williams claims that hasn’t stopped city officials from spending on items like fitness club facilities, wedding gifts and dresses.
Williams says she has had a difficult time trying to get access to information. And when she tried to take one report off site, “...excuse the French, all hell broke out. The mayor tried to get me arrested.”
So, the treasurer tried going straight to 1st Midwest Bank, which keeps the city’s money. “When I called Midwest bank to talk to our relationship manager he tells me that he can’t meet with me because he’s going golfing with the mayor,” says Williams.
The bank is a campaign donor to the mayor. Neither seems too concerned that the city has been bouncing checks at the bank --lots of them. Williams uncovered overdrafts on check after check. Country Club Hills taxpayers are paying 1st Mid-West Bank $35 for every bad check and no one said a thing.
Until she did.
Williams is calling on residents to take some action, saying “I need residents to know that these issues are going on. I need them to be outraged. I need them to come to every meeting, to call their aldermen.”
Williams says there’s more strange happenings.