Lawsuit Accuses St. Clair County Treasurer

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A federal lawsuit accuses a county treasurer in southwest Illinois of conspiring to rig auctions of tax lien debt to benefit a handful of investors in return for political contributions.

St. Clair County Treasurer Charles Suarez denies wrongdoing. He tells the Belleville News-Democrat his “tax sales have always been run by statute” and are fair. He adds that they are reviewed by the state’s attorney’s office.

The class action lawsuit was filed Friday on behalf of four county residents who say they had to pay thousands of dollars in excessive interest penalties to redeem tax liens on their homes because of the alleged conspiracy.

The lawsuit accuses Suarez of steering lucrative property tax liens to a group of buyers at the maximum 18 percent interest rate.

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