Dolton bars shut down amid allegations of political retaliation from Mayor Tiffany Henyard

There is more controversy in south suburban Dolton.

On Tuesday, police shut down two popular bars, and one trustee says it's because they're not supporting Dolton's Mayor, Tiffany Henyard.

Is it a coincidence? Or retaliation? Both the Dolton bars that were raided and shut down last night FOX 32 visited the day before as part of our ongoing investigation into allegations of political corruption in the south suburb.

"They just rushed in here. Put police at the front door like they were doing a raid on a drug house or something," said Sevone Garfield, security director of Pablo's Cafe and Bar.

A team of Dolton officers, headed by Deputy Police Chief Lewis Lacey, raided and shut down Pablo's Bar and Café and Rinky's Bar and Café, both located on Sibley about a block apart.

"Everything going peacefully. Nothing going on. Like 10 police cars come in and they start pushing customers from here. And he said if you don't leave, we're gonna lock you up," said George Mseeh, owner of Pablo's Cafe and Bar.

Employees and owners say it's part of an ongoing campaign of harassment by Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard that is costing jobs and money. Their business licenses have been stripped by Dolton, but they've continued to operate with a state license.

"I have like over 23 employees that work from the local township. And now at the end of the day, all the employees are going to lose their job," said Mehul Kumar Soni, owner of Rinky's Bar and Café.

"It's ridiculous. We all have mouths to feed. We all have kids. They're not giving us any explanation," said Andrea Thomas, a security worker.


On Monday, FOX 32 visited both Rinky's and Pablo's to ask about allegations that their licenses were being held up for political reasons.

Then, last night, we broke the story that FBI agents have questioned at least a half dozen people, including business owners, a former Dolton employee, and an elected official as part of an investigation into Mayor Henyard.

Less than two hours after our story aired, police raided the two bars.

"Someone seen you go in there. And then two hours after your story aired, the police are at both of these establishments," said Tammie Brown, Dolton trustee.

Brown says she believes the raids are meant to send a warning to others not to talk, and she believes there's a reason so many Dolton businesses are having trouble getting their licenses renewed.

"I'm sure that they were asked to donate, make a donation, and most likely they didn't make a donation. So you don't get a chance to stay open if you don't pay the queen's ransom," Brown said.

On Thursday, there will be a special public meeting of the trustees who are opposed to the mayor in which they plan to take action on the village's finances, getting access to village hall — they've been locked out — and welcoming an investigation by federal agencies.

The Village of Dolton released the following statement regarding the raids:

"The businesses in question both had a hearing with the liquor commission last month and the licenses were revoked at that time. The businesses have a history of violent incidents with patrons and were considered a nuisance to the residents in the community. These businesses are unable to operate without the license."