The woman who blew the whistle on former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell received a national award this weekend. Kathe Swanson was Dixon’s city clerk when she discovered accounting irregularities in 2011, which eventually revealed that Crundwell stole more than $53 million from the city.
Swanson was presented the Ethical Courage Award by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy at a screening of the documentary All the Queen’s Horses, by filmmaker Kelly Richmond Pope, who featured Swanson in her film.
“It’s not really focused on Rita,” said Pope. “It’s really focused on Kathe. And that’s intentional, because I’m fascinated by a person’s courage to come forward with information, and against a superior.”
The documentary played to full houses at the Historic Dixon Theater twice this weekend. It begins a two-week run at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago Nov. 10.
Pope created the film as her project for the Diverse Voices in Docs program at the not-for-profit Kartemquin Films in Chicago. Kartemquin founder Gordon Quinn said he felt this was a very important story to tell because it informs people about the dangers of fraud and embezzlement everywhere.
Quinn would like to see it play in theaters in small towns across the nation and is looking for national distribution. He says it eventually will air on PBS stations in Illinois. Pope also is offering the film as a teaching tool for accounting programs.