Lawyer, Hairdresser, Others Went on Aruba Trip with Mayor, Township Trustee

Photos posted to social media show friends tagged along on Aruba trip indicating conference was not the true purpose of trip

July 13, 2017-Photos posted to social media show that Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Kimberly Robinson were accompanied by Lawyer Rinzer Williams and a hairdresser, their respective Chiefs of Staff, as well as numerous other friends when they traveled to Aruba using taxpayer funds in late 2016. For her part, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson admits to using taxpayer money for the trip according to the NWI Times. The Mayor casually justified the gross abuse of the public trust by stressing that the taxpayer dollars were not City of Gary funds according to the article.

The Gazette previously reported that Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson confidante Mary Cossey celebrated her 50th birthday in Aruba during the conference. Rinzer Williams is the very, very part-time attorney for the Calumet Township Trustee at a salary of $63,000 per year. Many of the other individuals in the photo above have not yet been identified by the Gazette (If you recognize the folks in the picture, please let us know in the comments). Bringing along an entourage of friends certainly makes the trip to the carribean resort look more like a birthday party than an educational seminar.

While there is no indication at this point that tax money was directly used to pay for Rinzer Williams, Mary Cossey. the hairdresser, or any of the other friends to travel to Aruba, taxpayers deserve a full accounting of every dime spent. Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson reportedly used federal funds for her travel, raising concerns for even those of us who live outside of the City of Gary. Serious questions are raised about the true intent of the trip. Why take an entourage of friends if the purpose of the trip is to learn about issues related to your job? If you take a group of friends with you on a conference, isn’t it fair for taxpayers to make the assumption that the purpose of the trip was more recreation than work?

We intend to keep pressing for answers to these questions and will keep you updated. If you have information regarding this issue or any government corruption please let us know. This is the second in a series of articles about the Aruba trip taken with taxpayer funds by Kimberly Robinson and Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. Please Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for more on this story and other original reporting.


  1. Please stop these people from going anywhere out of indiana on our Money.They Stealing being Acrimmial as the last cakumet Township Leader How did Mrs Kimbery get in office ??Cause she had ties too her mom Dozier Alken.And shes doing Stealing As she watch for years of the last people the Same Stuff .As for The Mayor How Dare you Use Sny Kind of money For Atrip????our police and firefighters went without For Youre greednesd.Put them the Sherriff Sll behind Bars too.In Lake Co not Anice cell or agood lawyers too protect them

  2. Ill bet if anice reward is offered you get all the info u need.iwish iknew them.iam not ashamed too bust them in they place

  3. Great coverage….but what about Mayor McCheeze… he’s done worse!

    Buying buildings, low cost rent for poker playing friends, that nod towards card playing towing contractors.

    • I know! When I went to Aruba for a conference, I lugged boulders from one end of the beach to the other and only posted my boulder lugging photos on my personal social media.

    • Doris, according to the headline, it was just political officials, lawyers and a hairdresser. No clowns. Read before commenting next time, please.

  4. It could be a conference the Mayor and Township leaders attended to help improve Gary..Where does it say friends can’t travel with friends?They went to the conference to do their job.and meet up with friends later that day… conference are 3 to 8 hours a day and there is 24 hours in a day….And for the most part a trip to Aruba with air and hotel is around 1,500 dollars each…and you did say it was a lawyer and a hairdresser right??

  5. Wow, no wonder why Gary is broke. I am surprised you are not covering the City of Gary pushing employees to live in the city or they will be terminated.

    • There is nothing wrong with that. City Employees earning city money should be from a tax base that is financially vested in the community. Too long has city dollars been “earned” and taken out of the city. Many other areas practice this. Gary needs to start making choices in the best interest of the community. If you earn Gary money, live and spend it in Gary, plain and simple.

  6. Please proofread your comments!

    Not only are you a representation of yourself, but you are a representation of your dysfunctional community. And it shows with your content, grammar, and typos.

  7. And the very very part time attorney making 63,000 a year. Guess thats paid for by us too. No wonder griffith has proceeded to pull out of that rabbit hole

    • Errr wait, only Democrats are allowed in Aruba? How is this just now coming to light? OH MY GOD, THE ONLY PROFESSIONALS IN ARUBA ARE DEMOCRATS. Quick! Get Republicans to claim islands too. THE GAME OF RISK HAS ALREADY BEGUN AND ‘GIVE ME A T’ JUST BLEW IT WIDE OPEN.

  8. I’m excited to see what happens with “custom footer text left” and “custom footer text right.”

  9. Check this out. A Lawyer, a Hairdresser, a Wizard, a Locksmith, and an UNSKILLED miner are on a boat…if the boat drops below 50 miles an hour, the boat will explode. Given the skill sets of those on the team, how would you defuse explosives?

  10. Kim Robinson needs her money back! She has a kid in collar & wants the township to foot the bill for her party. They are free to party locally…it’s what they do anyway…

  11. The person in this articles’ picture with only a half face showing appears to be Terri Bennett. I saw another picture in another article with Deidra “Dee Dee” Jones (she’s a hairdresser/barber). I know them from high school. They all hang out still.

  12. You all are like crabs in a freaking barrel. Who said that people could not enjoy after hours events once the official business is done. Oops I’m sorry you dummies probably haven’t left Indiana. Professional people attend conferences all the time and their spouses, kids or friends often accompany the person attending the conference.

  13. This is only one of several trips that Kimberly Robinson has taken during her first year in office. She came into office and was eligible for two weeks vacation. The first year she went to Aruba, the National Democratic Covention, Atlanta, did a four to five day trip with Jack and Jill college tour and so on. I know first hand because I use to work there up until 12/29/17. It s quite clear why Mr. Williams was there and why he’s paid so much part time. Someone need to check into why her son has been on payroll and the Township for the two summers despite the fact the nepotism law is in effect. Kim Robinson is Greedy and by her asking f to be reimbursed when she is already over paid making 95,000 a year is rediculous. She could afford to pay for her own trip.

  14. Why not, broke Gary community school Corporation still arranged and attended conferences in Las Vegas and Florida for the 2017 summer! Rarely is information from these educational conferences ever shared with common teachers.

    • The Gazette requested information regarding the Superintendent’s travel expenditures. The school district provided a one page document with very little information.

      • There is no issue with attending conferences…however there should be an annual allowance to attend those events. Once the allotment has been reached any other conferences should be out of pocket to the individual. I do agree that the conference should have a business purpose to meet the allowance.

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