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Dear Mayor Welch, Please stop

Monday, Sep 14, 2009 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Several commenters were rightly upset today at the way Country Club Hills Mayor Dwight Welch handled himself at a press conference announcing some of the details of Chris Kelly’s death. Well, they didn’t know the half of it. The Tribune has the unedited video from the presser. Yeesh.

You should really watch the whole thing. But if you don’t have a lot of time, I’ve put a few of the choicest excerpts into a video, with particular attention to his grandstanding about the key witness in the case and his “in jokes” with reporters. It ain’t pretty. Take a look

There’s also an update in the case. Read it for context on how bogus some of the mayor’s claims were.

* But if for whatever reason you really want to be disgusted today, go find Rod Blagojevich’s interview with Howard Stern today. Profanity and off-color jokes galore. Classy. Real classy.


  1. - Okay Then... - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 3:11 pm:

    G-Rod was on the Howard Stern show. When in Rome? Besides, people pay to listen to the Howard Stern show, and they don’t want or expect classy.

    Admittedly Welch may not be acting pretty, but his type is not all that uncommon.

  2. - Yellow Dog - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 3:16 pm:

    Welch: First time on television.

    Stern: Sadly, not the Last time we’ll be hearing from our former governor.

  3. - Joe in the Know - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 3:41 pm:

    Why does Country Club Hills have jurisdiction over this matter in the first place. I think the Oak Forest police (where Kelly was taken) or Cook County Sheriff (since he passed away at a county facility) would have more jurisdiction.

    Just because he was in Country Club Hills for a brief period (according to press accounts), they seem too anxious to handle this “heater” case…..

  4. - Ghost - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 3:47 pm:

    Blago should have Welch on his radio show.

  5. - wordslinger - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 3:49 pm:

    It’s been that kind of summer. Everybody and their brothers are desperate to get on TV.

  6. - Anonymous45 - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 3:53 pm:

    Is there a more irrelevant self aggrandizer than Howard Stern? NOPE

  7. - Bill from Geneseo - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 3:57 pm:

    Since when should any Mayor be involved in an investigation of this sort let alone be doing press releases. Just goes to show you he thinks he is very important.

  8. - SweetLou - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 3:58 pm:

    What the heck is the mayor of a town doing holding a press conference about this? Isn’t this a police matter? And what’s he doing handling evidence?

  9. - Bill from Geneseo - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 4:02 pm:

    after watching the video my first thought is, when he opened his mouth his brains fell out.

  10. - Just wondering - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 4:05 pm:

    Welch loves the media spotlight. He is an “interesting” guy.

  11. - Louie - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 4:05 pm:

    Is there a more irrelevant self aggrandizer than Howard Stern? NOPE

    Sure there is, Dwight Welch!

  12. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 4:08 pm:

    “the man has gone through some type of the genitalia area..where not sure on that.”

    Is nothing sacred? This dude is a flake.

    Do they know who the mystery man is yet? This can only get more bizarre.

  13. - Tom - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 4:08 pm:

    I think Mayor Welch had a son (worked for Speaker Madigan) that recently passed away.

  14. - Anon - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 4:09 pm:

    This story involves a death. There are three young kids who lost their Dad. This isn’t the time for a lame, comedy club act. Someone needs to get this guy off stage fast.

  15. - ahem - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 4:10 pm:

    Wikipedia says Country Club Hills is 81.9% African-American. After the way he showboated to the detriment of his police chief I would expect to see him voted out of office. That is, if he isn’t kicked out for official misconduct with respect to the evidence and possibly privileged information relating to the police investigation. If the state police are handling the crime scene then perhaps he has infringed on their jurisdiction. As other commenters have noted, his egotism and malapropism is of a level that reaches the comedic, if it were not so misplaced.

  16. - Jake from Elwood - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 4:29 pm:

    An abyssmal showing. Maybe Mayor Welch believes this is his Warhol 15 minutes of fame. Reminds me of the Michael Jackson attorneys, grinning and acting glib concerning another’s demise. Disrespectful in my opinion.

  17. - wordslinger - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 4:33 pm:

    In our federal system, jurisdiction is everything.

    Here, it’s Country Club Hills. For law enforcement, it’s nobody else’s business but theirs.

    The federales have to stand on the sidelines and bite their tongues. But you have to believe they’re hovering, and talking to all the people aound the situation.

  18. - VanillaMan - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 4:36 pm:

    Mayor Welch types are not uncommon. He probably succeeded a Mayor Welch-type mayor, and another Mayor Welch-type mayor will succeed him.

    Not every mayor can handle these events as well as Mayor Daley does, right?

  19. - ahem - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 4:39 pm:

    == it’s nobody else’s business but theirs ==

    …and the city/state/national/international media, if they care to make it their business.

  20. - Third Generation Chicago Native - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 4:40 pm:

    Dwight Welch 2007

    The State Board of Elections is questioning about $40,000 in campaign expenditures by Country Club Hills Mayor Dwight Welch,

    Obviously Mayor Welch does not want to lay low. He must think there are no skeletens in his closet.
    The more Mayor Welch talks, the more questions I have concerning the handling of Chris Kelly.

    Dwight Welch

  21. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 4:49 pm:

    I think Mayor Welch had a son (worked for Speaker Madigan) that recently passed away.

    Yes, it seems that way per an article I found. In January, followed by a rash of killings in his town.


  22. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 4:57 pm:

    ahem, you must not be from the south suburbs.

    Mayor Welch may act like a buffoon, but he is quite popular with the A-A community there. Don’t assume all blacks will only vote for a caucasian, or vice versa. The village president of Richton Park is white, too, with a majority A-A population. Our recent national election debunked one longstanding myth.

  23. - ahem - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 5:12 pm:

    6°, I’m not talking about stereotypes. I’m talking about the mayor has just totally dominated in the press conference that I saw and the impression that I got is that he thinks she’s for show and can’t do the job of communicating to the press. I did not hear him say that she requested that he take the lead at any time. If he had more sense he would have addressed that. From my perspective it reeks of poor management. He should have at least worked out an arrangement whereby they alternated taking the lead. One wants to give others the benefit of the doubt but what I saw makes it very hard. Try to imagine that scenario with Daley and Weiss!

  24. - What the heck - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 5:45 pm:

    I believe Mayor Welch (aka crackpot) was trying to get a casino for his town, when Mr. Kelly was Blago’s gambling point person. Maybe his crazy behavior is his misguided anger about not getting the casino?

  25. - Just Observing - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 6:01 pm:

    === Is there a more irrelevant self aggrandizer than Howard Stern? NOPE ===

    You could not be more wrong. Howard Stern has a larger audience than David Letterman or Jon Stewart. His audience is very loyal. On any given day, things or people mentioned on his show shoot to number one on google search lists, and his sidekick, Artie Lange, who is not well known outside the show, his book was number one on the NY Times bestsellers list for weeks.

  26. - irving & ashland - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 6:23 pm:

    From the Sun-Times:
    “There’s two people,” Welch said, who are of interest to investigators. One identified himself as a Michael Allen. “We’ve communicated with him,” Welch said.

    Michael Allen, $1,000 to Friends Of Rod Blagojevich on December 23, 1995

    I’m not sure it’s relevant. I can’t even verify that it’s real, since the State Board of Elections site seems to be down right now. Interesting factoid, though.

  27. - irving & ashland - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 6:27 pm:

    Well, I remembered that back then, Friends of Blagojevich would have been a federal committee, I think. Unfortunately, the FEC records don’t go back to 1995.

    Or was Blagojevich still a state rep in 95. Would that be a contribution to his state committee or the federal committee?

  28. - Bookworm - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 7:13 pm:

    It seems shocking to me that Blago could go on with his talk show appearances (particularly on the Stern show) when someone whom he himself described as a close friend has just died in such a tragic fashion. Even more so when you consider Blago’s claim on HIS show that Chris Kelly in effect gave his own life to protect HIM.

    But, maybe Blago convinced himself that this is what Chris Kelly would have wanted him to do — keep up the fight, let the show go on.

  29. - ahem - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 8:08 pm:

    I don’t mean to be a smart aleck but wanted to clarify on “factoid,” which sure is a nice word, but most people (probably justifiably) think it means small fact when it really is supposed to mean this: I just don’t like to see good people do bad things with words ;-)

  30. - Amalia - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 8:13 pm:

    Hispanically? omg…..

  31. - wordslinger - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 8:25 pm:

    Ahem, the key word there is jurisdiction. People were wondering why the mayor is out in front. The answer is, because he can be.

  32. - NICE KID - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 8:53 pm:

    I listen to Howard every morning. I am not sure what I will do when he leaves radio, but it won’t be the same.

  33. - irving & ashland - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 10:04 pm:

    Well, thanks for the etymology. By calling it a factoid, I was actually admitting that I had no way of knowing even whether it’s the same Michael Allen, so the implication that the contribution has anything to do with this story is merely factoid at this point.

  34. - siriusly - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 10:31 pm:


    I found it interesting that you put Welch and Stern in the same post. Because I find Welch’s behavior completely disgusting, inappropriate and a violation of that woman’s privacy rights. I would seriously sue him for maligning her reputation if I were her. If there are any criminal charges related to this death investigation, any defense attorney could point to Welch’s behavior as prejuidicial and probalby tampering. Why would the police even give the Mayor that poor woman’s driver’s license? Why would the political official of the town even be involved in that whole scene? What a jerk!

    At the same time, what I expect from Howard Stern every day is crude humor with the occasional interesting informed political opinions thrown in here or there. The guy has a brain and is interesting to listen to, if you would bother giving him a chance. The only disappointment I have about the Blago appearance on Stern show today was that Stern was not armed with any facts or research to challenge Blago on any of his hundreds of lies. Luckily, Stern won’t be on the jury.


  35. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 10:39 pm:

    To the commenter who mentioned him having donated in 1996…

    Go to:

    That site works still even if the regular board of elections site is down (at least it is for me).

    Here’s what came up for “Allen, Michael” (although I am not including his address… you can look for it if you want).

    Allen, Michael
    Occupation: Executive
    Employer: Kellogg $1,000.00
    5/24/2006 Individual Contribution
    Friends of Blagojevich

    According to some subsequent googling, there is a guy who is (or was) a bigwig in marketing at Kellogg (the food company) named Michael Allen, but given that is such a common name and it’s unknown if he was even giving his real name who knows if it is the same guy.

  36. - Shelbyville - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 11:16 pm:

    And the mayor has her driver’s license - why? As far as that goes, why does the PD have her driver’s license?

    What a dang joke. This video needs to be on David Letterman - except for the tragedy that it is involved with.

    I am sure that the mayor wants everyone to know that the press is calling.

    He needs a big clown nose.

  37. - irving & ashland - Monday, Sep 14, 09 @ 11:17 pm:

    The latest Trib update adds some detail to the story of the “curfew” and Kelly being barred to go near the V Live club, owned by Aragon Entertainment.

    Though the new detail muddles as much as it clears up. Kelly apparently went bonkers in the club, asking to see the books to check on money he had given Clarissa to invest in it. But Aragon says that neither she nor he were ever owners, and that she merely worked at the bar for a month.

    Hmmm. Did she scam him for some of the money from his fraud? Did he find out when the Aragon people told him she didn’t even work there any more? Or is it something completely different? But something’s interesting there.

  38. - ahem - Tuesday, Sep 15, 09 @ 6:44 am:

    Wordslinger, I understand that Mayor Welch can pull rank on the police chief. I just don’t think it is the preferable thing to do from the standpoint of public relations, organizational integrity, or optimal utilization of resources. Perhaps they just fell into the defacto relationship when going into the press conference and assumed there would be a tacit understanding of how they operate. But to me it looks like an overpowering ego just running amok and butting into whatever he can and will butt into. Maybe he should just lay off the entire CCH staff and do everything himself.

  39. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 15, 09 @ 7:11 am:

    ==Wordslinger, I understand that Mayor Welch can pull rank on the police chief. I just don’t think it is the preferable thing to do from the standpoint of public relations, organizational integrity, or optimal utilization of resources.–

    You’re right, but I don’t think the mayor rank’s those priorities above his 15 minutes.

  40. - ahem - Tuesday, Sep 15, 09 @ 7:22 am:

    I agree with you, wordslinger. I think we’re beating a dead horse at this point so I don’t want to comment further on this subject.

  41. - Third Generation Chicago Native - Tuesday, Sep 15, 09 @ 7:44 am:

    I was able to watch the full press conferance, cell phone ringing, knocking over channel 2’s microphone, showing Clarissa’a driver’s license, giving out her address, he even said he would make copies to pass around.
    When asked about the surgery he said “It’s hard for me to talk about this type of thing” “but there were tubes”

    For the FBI/State Investigators watching were they thinking Welch = Botch

  42. - iliveincchills - Wednesday, Sep 16, 09 @ 7:10 pm:

    now you see what cchills folks see.

  43. - iliveincchills - Wednesday, Sep 16, 09 @ 8:17 pm:

    …. “Who is Hispanic. So you can say the name Hispanically…”

    Why in this world is this guy still the Mayor of Country Club Hills. I’m glad he finally showed his behind for everyone to see.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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