Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler, Republican, was re-elected to a second term, easily defeating challenger Marleen Suarez, Democrat, by a margin of 57 to 43 percent.
Prenzler had 44,418 votes to Suarez’s 33,120 votes.
“I really appreciate the confidence voters have shown in me,” Prenzler said. "And, I promise to do my best to continue to run the office with integrity."
Prenzler was first elected in 2010, succeeding Democrat Frank Miles who served as Treasurer by appointment following the resignation of long-serving Democrat Fred Bathon in 2009.
Prenzler had alerted authorities to Bathon’s tax sale practices, pointing to inflated interest rates charged to distressed property owners. A federal investigation ensued and in February 2013, Bathon pleaded guilty to rigging tax sales between 2005 and 2008, in a scheme so pervasive, that nearly every property tax lien sold was sold at the statutory maximum interest rate – 18 percent. Under the scheme, tax buyers, who provided Bathon with campaign contributions, did not submit competitive bids to lower rates for distressed property owners.
Bathon and three tax buyers were sentenced to federal prison following their guilty please.
A consolidated class action being pursued by distressed property owners is playing out in Madison County Circuit Court.
Prenzler raised about $32,605 in individual itemized campaign contributions.
Suarez raised almost twice as much in individual itemized campaign contributions, at least $56,194 - much of which was derived from the plaintiffs' bar.
Suarez is herself an attorney and contributed at least $24,000 to her campaign committee.