Editorials

Save $12K in taxes by ‘investing’ as little as $500

St. Clair County Board of Review member Michael Crockett was found not guilty of some charges and others were dropped after an investigation into $500 he received before a used car lot’s owner received a significant break on his property tax assessment.
St. Clair County Board of Review member Michael Crockett was found not guilty of some charges and others were dropped after an investigation into $500 he received before a used car lot’s owner received a significant break on his property tax assessment. Provided

Michael Crockett is on the St. Clair County Board of Review until 2018. The justice system failed to prove he took a bribe to lower a tax assessment. Now it is up to voters to remove him from office.

Crockett reduced the 2013 property tax assessment for Rodney Fults, owner of A&E Auto Sales at 3330 and 3338 Camp Jackson Road in Cahokia. An assessor said Fults’ land was worth $124,758, but the board kicked that down to $46,596.

The change saved Fults $12,020 in 2013 property taxes — money that other property taxpayers had to make up.

Fults got this break after handing Crockett $500 in an envelop, Fults and his ex-wife testified. The ex-wife said Fults said he was going to get his property taxes lowered by giving the money to Crockett, but Fults testified “I haven’t bribed anybody.”

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Randall Kelley dropped three charges against Crockett and ruled he was not guilty on two others, declaring there was “not a scintilla of proof.”

Then Crockett wrapped himself in victimhood: “Because I was a public official, I had to prove I was innocent.”

Not a “bribe.” Not a “scintilla of proof.” “Innocent.”

Maybe the FBI agent and prosecutor failed to make their case, but is Crockett innocent?

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, the court of public opinion should make it a lame duck in 2018.

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