June 23, 2011: Country Club Hills’ Big-Spending, Unabashed Mayor
June 29, 2011: WGN-TV and the Better Government Association has learned people are being interviewed by the Cook County State’s Attorney for an investigation into the goings-on at city hall in Country Club Hills. Sally Daly, spokeswoman for the state’s attorney would neither confirm nor deny a probe.
Just days after our joint investigation caught Dwight Welch, mayor of Country Club Hills spending tens-of-thousands of dollars at restaurants entertaining his staff and lobbying others with his city credit card, the mayor has also been found using campaign funds to wine and dine even more. Records show that the mayor would go to restaurants two to three times on the same day for campaign meetings and city business totaling 50 times last year alone.
“You misappropriated our funds,” says Alderman Vincent Lockett.
There was even a week in April where the mayor had a feast with taxpayer money. The mayor spent nearly a thousand dollars on the city’s dime and another 26 hundred dollars from his campaign.
The mayor was unapologetic, “Do I take city workers out for breakfast after plowing the streets? Guilty!” he said.
After the WGN/BGA investigation, the city council voted to cancel all credit cards except one for emergencies.
“We’re going to deactivate all current credit cards,” says Alderman Steven Burris. The mayor surprised many in the crowd by voting yes to the proposal.
According to Robert Herguth with the Better Government Association, “There are several troubling questions here about how [Welsh] administrates and how he oversees the city. The city council took a good first step in terms of curbing some of the expenses.”
The mayor also admits he is dating a city employee who works on his campaign and uses a car paid for by the campaign.
“Someone needed to investigate this man a long time ago. He’s gotten away with too much,” says a resident of Country Club Hills.”
MORE FROM COUNTRY CLUB HILLS
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