SIU may rename softball field after donor pleads guilty

News-DemocratOctober 23, 2013 

Southern Illinois University Carbondale's softball field is named after one of that school's biggest donors -- Makanda businessman and winery owner Barrett Rochman.

But SIU's Board of Trustees is scheduled to rule on a request at its meeting next month to strip Rochman's name from the field and replace it with the name of a revered SIUC woman's softball coach. The request to rename the field is pending less than a week after Rochman, 70, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to taking part in a bid-rigging scheme that cheated thousands of Madison County property owners out of at least $2 million in excessive interest payments and fees.

The request to rename the softball field after Kay Brechtelsbauer, who coached the women's team from 1968 to 1999, originated in an August letter from Rochman and his family, according to Glenn Poshard, SIUC's president.

"So if the board approves, the field will be renamed anyway," Poshard said.

If Rochman had not requested the softball field's named be changed, would the trustees board sought it anyway because of his guilty plea to a felony?

"I don't know," said Poshard, who added he has not yet informed the trustees board of the proposed name change. "I couldn't tell you how the board would react to that ...I've never had to deal with a problem of this sort."

In 2003, Rochman donated an unspecified sum of money to SIUC to get the field named after himself.

Rochman could not be reached for comment. John P. Rogers, his lawyer, declined to comment on the charge.

Under his plea agreement, Rochman faces between 10 and 16 months in federal prison for violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

Rochman, along with at least two other tax buyers, colluded with former Madison County Treasurer Fred Bathon to rig the sale of liens on 10,000 parcels owned by delinquent taxpayers between 2005 and 2009.

Bathon, who faces up to 10 years in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced for his role in the scene Dec. 6.

Contact reporter Mike Fitzgerald at mfitzgerald@bnd.com or 618-239-2533.

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