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Rita’s wheels up for sale

Published: Saturday, July 14, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT
(Photo from the U.S. Marshals Service)
Bids to purchase Rita Crundwell's luxury motor home can be submitted between July 23 and Aug. 1. Bidders can inspect the motor home on July 23 and July 27, but by appointment only.

DIXON – A 2009 luxury motor home belonging to Rita Crundwell is officially on the market.

Federal officials say profits from the sale of the motor home and other big-ticket items seized from the ousted Dixon comptroller will be given to the city if Crundwell is convicted of wire fraud.

The city of Dixon has so far made back $165,000 of the $53 million prosecutors say its comptroller misappropriated over two decades, city officials said.

The bulk of the money – $100,000 – came from the fiduciary liability claim it had through the Illinois Municipal League Risk Management Association. The city received that relatively quickly, Public Works Director Shawn Ortgiesen said.

Two more payments have come in over the past 2 weeks from Western Surety Co.: $50,000 from a bond held on her position as treasurer; and $15,000 from a public employees blanket bond.

It is typical for institutions to have insurance on employees who handle money and other financial responsibilities.

The city still hopes to collect restitution when the case against Crundwell is resolved, but in the meantime, it has collected the insurance it had on Crundwell.

After her arrest April 17 at City Hall, federal investigators seized numerous items that they believe Crundwell bought with city funds.

One of them was a $2.1 million 2009 Liberty Coach motor, which the U.S. Marshals Service posted for sale on its website early Friday.

Bids can be submitted between July 23, the day Crundwell is due back in court, and Aug. 1. Bidders can inspect the motor home, which is under marshals’ care in Milwaukee, on July 23 and July 27, but by appointment only.

On Aug. 1, the number of bids received will be announced and unsealed; only the name of the highest bidder will be disclosed.

Crundwell and her attorneys did not object to the prosecutors’ May motion to sell the motor home and her properties: 1679 U.S. Route 52, Dixon; 1556 Red Brick Road, Dixon; 1403 Dutch Road, Dixon; 80 acres of land in Lee County; and 821 E. Fifth St., in Englewood, Fla.

A similar order was granted last month to sell Crundwell’s 401 prime quarter horses and other related items. Marshals are working to award a contract to horse professionals to run a multiday live auction.

Bids were due July 5.

Jason Wojdylo, assistant chief inspector of the Marshal’s Asset Forfeiture Division, said he hopes to award a contract in the next few weeks. Once a contract is awarded, the sale must be complete within 45 days.

Wojdylo declined to say how many bids had been submitted.

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