Where was oversight during Bathon scandal?

By The Madison County Record | Jun 2, 2014

To the Editor:

To the Editor:

Bamboozle: to deceive, confuse, or puzzle through trickery.

Recently, Madison County Auditor, Rick Faccin called the professionalism of County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler into question while county board members called for a “Treasurer Oversight Committee” due to Prenzler’s investments. A casual observer might deem Faccin and his party’s action amusing if not totally confusing.

Weren’t Dunstan, Faccin and their party on watch while their political colleague Fred Bathon took political contributions during rigged tax sales? May I humbly ask, where was Faccin’s oversight then?

Since coming to office Prenzler reduced the Treasurer’s budget, reformed the tax sales, and made sound investments according to Illinois law.

Let’s look at Madison County investment history. Upon taking office Prenzler discovered $42 million dollars of Madison County’s $105 million dollar investment portfolio was invested outside of policy standards. In six consecutive days following Prenzler’s election, the previous officeholders purchased $36 million in long-term bonds from one Little Rock, Ark. bond salesman without competitive bidding.  In fact, Prenzler’s predecessor lost $2.8 million dollars before Prenzler was sworn in.

Following this fiasco, the newly sworn in Prenzler invested county money according to Illinois law which proscribes three priorities of safety, liquidity, and yield. Just like other Illinois County Treasurers, Prenzler wisely invested in two year CDs or bonds. Faccin and some board members apparently want bonds invested outside of policy in riskier long term bonds. (Probably with their ‘Little Rock Connection’.)

Prenzler isn’t losing money.  Before his election Madison County had $105 million and today has $135 million dollars. What do you think? Is there ‘bamboozling’ going on? Will Faccin, Dunstan, and their followers need "a corrective oversight committee of voters" at election time?

Philip W. Chapman


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