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Government Finishes Sale of Crundwell Assets

Jenna Dooley

U.S. Marshals Service Says Selling Crundwell's Assets Was Not All "Smooth Sailing"

Federal marshals have now liquidated all of the known assets of Rita Crundwell, the former Dixon comptroller who admitted to embezzling nearly $53 million from the city.

Last week, marshals sold Crundwell’s final three assets, including two vehicles and a trailer. That sale brought in about $36,000.

Crundwell was sentenced in February to 19.5 years in federal prison.

In all, it took about a year to sell off all of Crundwell's personal belongings. That included hundreds of horses, five pieces of real estate, and high-end jewelry.

According to estimates from the U.S. Marshals Service, the city of Dixon will only recover about $10 million taken from the city's coffers over the last two decades.

The sale of Rita Crundwell's jewelry brought in more than $250,000.

About $5,000,000 was raised from the sale of her horses.

Several millions were brought in from her five properties.

The government still has a few more expenses coming in for storage and commission for selling the final few items.

Even though Crundwell’s belongings have been sold, Jason Wojdylo, with the U.S. Marshals Service, says  it's not case closed.

“She will be indebted to the United States for the rest of her life. We believe we have identified most of the assets, but if we determine that there are assets out there that we have not been made aware of, we will continue to pursue those. This case essentially will never be closed.” -Jason Wojdylo, U.S. Marshals Service

Wojdylo says the first part of the process was not exactly “smooth sailing” because of the livestock involved. It cost $1.6 million to care for the horses before they were sold.

He says selling the rest of Crundwell’s assets, including several homes and pieces of jewelry, was much more routine. 

But Wojdylo says the overall process wrapped up earlier than anticipated because the court gave marshals the authority to sell the assets in advance of Crundwell’s guilty plea:

“Rita Crundwell did a lot of things that were wrong. She was convicted, and is serving a federal prison sentence because of that. If she did anything right in this process, it was that she gave up assets up very early in the litigation.”

Jenna Dooley has spent her professional career in public radio. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois - Springfield. She returned to Northern Public Radio in DeKalb after several years hosting Morning Edition at WUIS-FM in Springfield. She is a former "Newsfinder of the Year" from the Illinois Associated Press and recipient of NIU's Donald R. Grubb Journalism Alumni Award. She is an active member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and an adjunct instructor at NIU.
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