Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler reacted to today's announcement that former Treasurer Fred Bathon had pled guilty to charges of price fixing property tax sales by issuing the following statement:
"I was made aware of an investigation by federal authorities last year and I made my office available to cooperate in any way possible. I have not been privy to any details of the investigation. Obviously, I had my own suspicions about practices within the office that I found unsettling.
"We moved quickly to remedy these situations and attempt to restore integrity to the County Treasurer’s Office.
"The unethical tax sale system was the first thing I reformed as Treasurer.
"We have also initiated a lawsuit to recover taxpayer money as the result of bond purchases made in violation of written policy.
"I am confident that the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will hold responsible anyone who is guilty of wrongdoing and violating the public trust and will ensure that justice is served for the people of Madison County."
Bathon pled guilty to violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. He was convicted of structuring Madison County property tax sales in a way that increased prices and rewarded campaign contributors.
A violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine.
Bathon's sentencing is scheduled May 17.
Bathon, a Democrat, resigned as Treasurer in December 2009. Frank Miles was appointed to fill Bathon's unexpired term.
Prenzler, a Republican, was elected to the post in November 2010.