Another lawsuit has been filed by a Madison County property owner, seeking class action status against the county following the Fred Bathon(pictured) tax sale scandal. Unlike the suit filed in late February, this one names a pair of current county officials as defendants - Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan and Circuit Clerk Mark Von Nida - as well as former investment officer Jim Foley.
A number of tax buyers are also named in the suit, which also names Von Nida as a co-conspirator in Bathon's scheme. Von Nida spent 15 years as the Madison County Clerk, and according to the suit, should have been aware of or at least highly suspicious of Bathon's actions. The suit states it was Von Nida's job to attend the sales and to document them. Bathon pleaded guilty earlier this month to violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. It was revealed in court that for tax sales conducted between 2005 and 2008, Bathon structured delinquent property tax sales in such a way that eliminated competitive bidding and allowed the tax buyers to engage in price fixing by only bidding the statutory maximum interest rate of 18%.