News Local/State

IL Treasurer Candidate Accuses Frerichs Of Patronage, Financial Mismanagement


State Rep. Tom Cross’ campaign team accuses his Democratic opponent for state treasurer of political patronage, and costing taxpayers millions while he was Champaign County Auditor.

They claim State Sen. Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign) cost the county more than $3-million after proposing an early retirement initiative in 2003. 

Cross (R-Oswego) supporters that include former Illinois GOP chair Pat Brady also say Frerichs pushed for two countywide Democratic officeholders who were each criticized for their performance, former Champaign County Auditor Tony Fabri, and Curt Deedrich, a former Supervisor of Assessments.

“If he becomes Illinois treasurer, it’s going to be politics as usual, it’s going to be patronage above public service, and the people that ended up paying here in Champaign were the taxpayers of Champaign County, it’s going to be that multiplied by 101 more counties," Brady said.

Brady was joined by former Champaign County Clerk Mark Shelden, former Republican Champaign County Board member Stephanie Holderfield, and State Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) in an apperance in Champaign Tuesday.

Senator Frerichs declined to comment on tape but called the accusations ‘verifiable falsehoods.’   

As for the early retirement program, Champaign County Administrator Deb Busey said the county had to pay only about $350-thousand in bonds back over a decade, and that the program saved $2.1 million. 

"At the end of the day, I think you can safely say that they county paid about $350,000 over ten years for offering that ERI program to its employees in 2003-04," she said. "Employees were going to Mike, and they were coming to me, asking us to bring an ERI (Early Retirement Initiative) offer to the county board."

Cross himself did not appear at press conferences around Central Illinois, announcing the accusations Tuesday.