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Moving Rita’s big rock

Boulder, signs at ranch removed; more items up for bid

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Philip Marruffo/pmarruffo@saukvalley.com)
Matt Moeller of the Dixon Public Property Department brings down a sign at the former ranch of Rita Crundwell Tuesday afternoon. Crews removed three signs from the ranch and a large boulder at the entrance to the ranch.
Caption
(Philip Marruffo/pmarruffo@saukvalley.com)
Matt Moeller hands a sign to Curt Phillips as the Dixon Public Property Department staffers help out the U.S. Marshals Service by removing signs on barns at the Rita Crundwell ranch on Red Brick Road Tuesday afternoon. The signs, the big boulder that sat at the entrance, calendars featuring photos of Crundwell and her horses, and other personal items will be sold at yet another online auction that will run Friday through Tuesday at www.professionalauction.com.

DIXON – It was hard to miss the large stone boulder engraved with the “RC” logo planted in front of Rita Crundwell’s ranch.

The logo, which can be found on two of the barns and on other items, symbolized the successful horse dynasty she spent years building.

Earlier this year, the world learned how she paid for it all – with nearly $54 million she admitted stealing from the city as its longtime comptroller and treasurer.

Now, when you drive past the ranch, all signs of Crundwell are gone. Her herd, equipment, tack and other items have been sold. Even the boulder is gone.

Tuesday, the U.S. Marshals Service had the city of Dixon remove the rock and three signs from two of the barns. They will be auctioned online from 7 p.m. Friday until 7 p.m. next Tuesday at www.professionalauction.com.

Also to be sold in this latest online auction: 451 2012 calendars, replete with photos of the horsewoman herself; 10 2-by-3-foot signs she would use to guide people to her horse auctions, discovered recently in a storage room; and the one personal item that didn’t sell in last week’s auction: a now vintage VCR .

“The significance of this in the continued dismantling of the equine empire built by the defendant cannot be understated,” Jason Wojdylo, chief inspector of the marshals asset forfeiture division, said in a news release.

Crundwell, 59, of Dixon, pleaded guilty Nov. 14 to wire fraud. She will be sentenced Feb. 14 and faces up to 20 years in prison.

She also is charged with 60 counts of theft in Lee County. She has a pretrial conference Dec. 19.

To date, Crundwell’s assets have sold for nearly $8 million. That includes $275,734 raised from the online auction of nearly 400 lots of items from the ranch on Red Brick Road, her U.S. Route 52 home, and her Englewood, Fla. vacation home.

That money will be given to the city once the case is resolved.

Wojdylo said Tuesday that there still are more items, such as a saddle in a glass case and her jewelry, that likely will be sold next year.

Marshals also are selling five properties belonging to Crundwell. They have received unsolicited bids on the ranch, 81 acres of land in Lee County, and a home at 1403 Dutch Road in Dixon.

An offer also has been made on the Route 52 house, but marshals won’t evaluate it until next week at the earliest, Wojdylo said.

 

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