Dolton and Mayor Tiffany Henyard hit with another lawsuit from business owner

A federal lawsuit filed against Dolton and Mayor Tiffany Henyard alleges a business license for a barber shop was denied due to “arbitrary and capricious” actions by the mayor.

It’s the latest in a string of lawsuits filed in state and federal court against the village and Henyard, many of which allege retaliatory actions by the mayor and her administration aimed at those who do not support her politically or financially.

Tyrone Isom Jr. ultimately did not receive a license to open his barber shop and said he had to sell the property, after putting in thousands of dollars to remodel the building, according to his lawsuit.

The complaint alleges Henyard has a policy of approving or denying permits, such as business licenses, based on “arbitrary and capricious non-village-oriented basis, but instead based upon what donations individuals give toward her campaign.”

Isom said he had no avenue to appeal the license denial, and alleges he was denied due process under the U.S. Constitution.

An attorney for Isom, Gregory Kulis, said Wednesday his client works as a barber in the south suburbs and had to sell the property a little more than a month ago. Kulis said Isom racked up bills and “was living on credit cards” to try to open his shop.

“He did everything (village officials) told him he had to do,” to open the business, Kulis said.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, also names Keith Freeman, Dolton’s village administrator, as a defendant along with Carmen Carlisle, who is Henyard’s executive assistant, and village inspector Kim Alston.

According to the lawsuit, Isom bought property at 1031 Sibley Blvd. and met with Freeman about plans to open a barber shop. He was told by the administrator he would get the permits needed to open, according to the lawsuit.

Isom filed for a business license in November 2022.

He says at one point he was told by Carlisle that she had discussed his application for a business license with Henyard, and that the mayor did not want a barber shop.

In November 2023, Isom was told by Carlisle that he needed to fix the building’s roof, and Isom applied for a permit, according to the lawsuit.

He said the building permit for the roof work was issued that same month, but said he was later told by Alston that Henyard would not allow a barber shop and that he should consider putting another business on the property.

Isom said in the lawsuit he was told at some point by someone with the village that the mayor wanted the property for a different use.

Kulis said that Isom “would like to go back there to have a business,” but that his dealings with the village have soured him on the idea.

The lawsuit comes as federal agents served subpoenas Friday at Dolton Village Hall seeking records as part of an ongoing investigation into the village.

Also, trustees hired Lori Lightfoot, Chicago’s former mayor, to probe alleged misspending of village funds by Henyard the trustees say resulted in a multimillion-dollar deficit for the village.