EDWARDSVILLE, IL. (KPLR) – It`s the type of crime that has some Madison County residents fuming. Fred Bathon, their former county treasurer, admitted in federal court to financially helping his campaign contributors off the backs of people losing their property.
The U.S. Attorney`s office for the Southern District of Illinois says Bathon did not take bids for the interest rates those property owners were charged. They were charged 18% interest, the maximum under Illinois law.
Had those rates been put up for a bid, there`s no telling how much lower the fees would have been.
Bathon also admitted giving his campaign contributors special seats during property auctions ensuring that they would secure the winning bid.
‘It makes you wonder about politicians nowadays,’ said Edwardsville resident Joe Griffin.
‘It makes me lose my faith in elected leaders,’ said John Porter, Collinsville resident. ‘I don`t have much faith in them anyway.’
Leaders on the Madison County board say they notified the feds that something was fishy and so residents should take comfort in those actions.
Now the question is whether those victims can recoup any over payments.
There is no clear answer. Potential victims can submit information to the U.S. Attorney`s Office – Southern District of Illinois.