Big pension still going to crooked politician who pleaded guilty

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by Chris Stanford - News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on October 28, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 28 at 9:34 PM

(KMOV) -- An Illinois state lawmaker is now trying to change the law after he learned a former Madison County Treasurer was still getting a hefty pension after pleading guilty to an elaborate tax scheme that took taxpayers for millions of dollars.

Former Treasurer Fred Bathon continues to receive a monthly pension of $7,506.71 each month, according to figures from the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.  Bathon has received more than $346,894.24 since 2010 when his pension kicked in, according to the same figures.

By law, the State has to keep paying Bathon until he’s convicted, says Linda Horrell with IMRF, which is scheduled to happen in December when he’s sentenced,.

State Representative Dwight Kay was outraged to hear that Illinois continued to pay Bathon after he pleaded guilty in February.

“I would say it’s a staggering sum and it’s also a surprising amount of money for a pension,” says Kay.

Kay says there is a loophole in the state pension code and Monday co-sponsored a bill that would stop pension payments immediately to former public employees who plead guilty to public corruption or other qualifying felony convictions.

“If we left this thing alone or we stayed silent on the matter, it would be the wrong thing to do, especially for the tax payers,” says Kay.

Kay’s argument is that a guilty plea with a lawyer present is as good as a conviction.  He’s confident the bill will signed into law, perhaps this coming spring.  Kay says it’ll be tough for his colleagues to vote against the bill he’s co-sponsored. 

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