3 former employees sue Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard, alleging retaliation for not following orders

Two former Dolton employees and one former Thornton Township employee filed three separate lawsuits Wednesday against Dolton Mayor and Thornton Township Supervisor Tiffany Henyard, alleging they were terminated out of retaliation for not supporting the politician.

All of the suits also name Keith Freeman, a special assistant to Henyard in Thornton Township and village administrator for Dolton. Two of the suits name the village of Dolton while the third names Thornton Township and its director of finances, Robert Hunt.

A lawsuit from Karen Johnson, a former administrative assistant in Dolton’s Public Works Department, alleges “the real reason for the termination was due to Johnson searching for stories that painted Henyard in a negative light.”

The lawsuit claims Johnson was discovered reading and sharing the negative articles on office internet, and states she “refused to campaign for Henyard,” factors that led to her termination in August 2022, 15 months after she took over the role.

Samysha William, former director of the Building Permits and License Department in Dolton, claims she was fired because she failed to comply with Henyard’s requests to withhold public records from trustees, did not “withhold permits in exchange for campaign donations” and refused to mute trustees during board meetings.

“Williams was instructed to practice muting the Trustees when they were speaking during the meetings,” one line from her suit reads.

Sandra Tracy alleges that while in her role as Thornton Township’s human resources manager, she declined to assist Henyard and her refusal led to her termination.

“Henyard also asked Tracy for a list of all Township employees … with notes detailing all their faults and any known “dirt on them,” … given what Tracy may have known as HR Manager,” a line from the suit reads.

Hunt also alleges her termination was also decided in part because she took medical leave and complained about not being paid as required by Illinois law.

Officials from Dolton and Thornton Township, including Henyard and Freeman, did not respond Friday to requests for comment. Hunt could not be reached.

These lawsuits are the latest accusations into Henyard’s administrations. She recently blocked a request from Dolton trustees for outside agencies to investigate her for allegedly misusing village funds. In February, Williams sued Henyard for defamation and the FBI opened an investigation into Henyard’s charity.

hsanders@chicagotribune.com