Enough liability to go around

Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler, a Republican, is saying the county should get on the right side of the delinquent property tax scandal and help reimburse the defrauded taxpayers.

Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan and State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons, both Democrats, fired back that Prenzler is trying to settle the defrauded taxpayers’ class-action lawsuit on the backs of other taxpayers. They say Prenzler is just trying to line the pocket of the plaintiffs’ attorney, who is also Prenzler’s political patron, Don Weber.

“I can’t imagine how anyone who is fighting to protect our citizens and their hard-earned money could think that taxpayers — not the criminals — should be on the hook for damages in this case,” Gibbons said.

Interesting spin. But the reality is that Prenzler is the one who uncovered the corruption by his predecessor, Fred Bathon, to take campaign cash from tax buyers in exchange for allowing those tax buyers to charge the maximum of 18 percent interest on delinquent property tax bills.

We agree that Bathon and the three imprisoned tax buyers should pay, but remember that not all the criminals have been brought to justice. We believe some still maintain offices in the Madison County Administration Building and looked the other way as Bathon, for years, and in plain view, worked the system for his own gain.

Bathon is already out of federal prison. We assume his early release was the result of ratting on others.

Maybe Gibbons will get his wish and there will be more criminals to share the burden of paying for the tax scheme. Maybe their offices will be really close to his.