Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler, a Republican running against current county board Chairman Alan Dunstan, believes that the Democratic incumbent's alleged misuse of county credit cards for personal expenses will have an impact on election results
“The voters know that this county has been run for decades by a Democrat political machine,” Prenzler told the Madison Record. “This credit card abuse by the county’s top elected official is symptomatic of bad ethics that have led to fraud, waste and abuse.”
Prenzler recently called out Dunstan, claiming that he has been misusing a county-issued credit card for personal expenses. After reviewing records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act last fall, Prenzler claimed that Dunstan made at least 14 personal purchases on the county's card, amounting to $1,800.
“The purchases included a $314 flight for his wife to Washington, D.C.; two personal hotel flights prior to a conference Dunstan attended for $402.02; and $239.60 to Bernard’s Meat Market in Troy,” Prenzler said. “[He also spent] $200 in Kohl’s; $44 for postage; and purchases at Busch Stadium, Rusty’s restaurant, Mac and Mick’s, Laurie’s Place, Subway, Round Table restaurant, and a service charge at a Napa Valley hotel room.”
Dunstan declined to comment for this story.
Prenzler said that county records showed that Dunstan had traveled to Napa Valley where he took part in a weeklong conference with fellow county official, Frank Miles, costing taxpayers more than $5,000.
“Neither Dunstan nor Miles were members of the organization that hosted the event, and they registered late at an extra expense,” he said.
In an online posting, Miles wrote that at the time of the trip he was administrator of Planning and Development for the county.
"We were dealing with the 2008 levee crisis and the de-certification of the levees protecting the American Bottoms placing thousands of people at risk and the meeting we attended was with officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the levee certification agencies of the federal government and with other communities and counties dealing with this crisis," Miles wrote.
"But like he does
Kurt left out the facts to make himself look like a hero."
Prenzler questioned why the county board chairman needed a county-issued credit card in the first place.
“I don’t have a county-issued credit card,” he said. “When I go to Springfield for a meeting, I use my own money and submit bills for reimbursement.”
While records show that Dunstan reimbursed the county for the personal charges, Prenzler said that he should never have used the county credit card in the first place to make the charges.
“The taxpayers of Madison County are generous to Dunstan by giving him a credit card with a $30,000 limit,” he said. “Plus, he gets the use of a county vehicle, which he drives to events after business hours, including political fundraisers.”
The issue of personal use of government credit cards has recently been gaining attention in the media.
Collinsville Councilwoman Cheryl Brombolich was alleged to have sent 131 text messages to her finance director asking not to tell her boss, the city manager, that she had charged a personal purchase to a tax-free city account, claiming that it had been a mistake and that he wouldn't believe it the second time around.
“It’s an abuse of the system,” Prenzler said. “This is about public trust.”