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.