One of the most enduring figures in Pineville politics has been indicted again — this time on charges that he conspired to buy votes with money and pills.
The indictment, which was unsealed Wednesday, alleges Pineville Mayor Robert “Bob” Madon, 73, and his son, Brent Madon, 44, used cash and drugs to convince people to vote by absentee ballot for the elder Madon in the November 2006 election. Only 1,036 people voted in the general election. Of those, 305 were absentee votes, or about one-third of the total votes.
Of those 305 absentee votes cast, Bob Madon received 250, and his opponent received 55, the indictment says. Madon later won the election by a nearly 2-to-1 margin and assumed office on Jan. 1, 2007. Brent Madon told an unnamed person before the Nov. 7, 2006, election “that if you know of anybody that wanted a ride to go vote, I will give them money and drugs to vote for my father,” the indictment alleges. On Nov. 6, the younger Madon took a woman to the courthouse so she could vote absentee. When the woman accidentally told the clerk that she would actually be in town on Election Day, Brent Madon took the woman out in the hall and told her what to tell the clerk, the indictment alleges.
Madon later paid the woman for her vote with cash and pills. Then Bob Madon went to the woman’s apartment later that same day and allegedly told her to be out of town on Election Day, the indictment alleges.
Bob Madon said Wednesday night that he has been advised by his attorney not to discuss the charges but said he was “taken aback” by the indictment. He said he has no plans to resign. Samuel Castle of Barbourville, Madon’s attorney, was not available for comment late Wednesday.
Brent Madon also could not be reached for comment.
This is not the Pineville mayor’s first criminal charge. Bob Madon was convicted in 1987 of nine counts of spending $2,300 of city money on himself, his girlfriend and city employees, but served no jail time. Madon was originally charged with 117 felony counts of misappropriating city money. Madon was first elected mayor in 1977, the year of a devastating flood, and is credited with bringing a $54 million federal project to build a flood wall topped by a four-lane highway to relieve traffic congestion. He maintained his innocence during his trial and argued that he had used the money to lobby for grants to rebuild the city. Madon resigned as mayor after his conviction, but he was later pardoned by Gov. Wallace Wilkinson, making him eligible to run for public office. Since 1977, Madon has served as mayor of Pineville off and on for a total of 18 years, Madon said Wednesday. One of the bypasses around Pineville is called the Bob Madon Bypass in honor of the long-serving mayor. After Madon resigned in 1987, then-Councilman E.J. Farris compared Madon to Moses, saying Madon was a great leader but was not allowed to go to the Promised Land because he made a mistake, according to a 1987 Herald-Leader article. The Madons are the latest Eastern Kentucky politicians to be indicted on vote-buying charges. More than a dozen Bath County elected officials and citizens were indicted on charges that the May 2006 primary election was rigged. In June, Knott County Judge-Executive Randy Thompson was convicted of scheming to buy votes and misusing taxpayers’ money to improve privately owned driveways and to build private bridges. The federal jury also convicted John Mac Combs and Phillip G. Champion, deputies under Thompson, and Ronnie Adams, a former magistrate who now works for the county. Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Lexington were not available for comment Wednesday. The Madon indictment was issued July 23 but was not unsealed until Wednesday, according to court records. A court date for the Madons has not been set. If convicted, both could receive a maximum of 30 years in federal prison.