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Dateline Dixon: Don’t close the book on Crundwell yet

Lawsuit to give more answers

DIXON – On a day of answers, federal Judge Philip G. Reinhard left us with a question.

“Why was this not discovered by someone?” the judge asked Thursday before sentencing former Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell to 19 years, 7 months in prison.

“I don’t have the answer,” he said.

“I don’t have to decide that. The citizens of Dixon have to decide that.”

Dave Sinason, a forensic auditing expert at Northern Illinois University, told me the scheme Crundwell used to steal nearly $54 million is not that unusual. The 20-year duration and the amount stolen is what makes the case extraordinary.

Reinhard told residents to look at the city’s pending lawsuit against its auditors for answers. After all, the fundamental question driving the lawsuit asks who is responsible for allowing the theft to go on.

I understand many have had enough of Crundwell and closed the book on her Thursday. That’s fine. This is a good time to scan over to another article.

For those who are not satisfied with the lack of an answer to Reinhard’s question, there’s more to come, and the heart of the question is going to be: “Why was this not discovered by someone sooner?”

Dixon’s city officials point a finger at its auditors for not detecting the schemes, saying they had knowledge of documents that could have identified the theft, including the secret bank account’s existence.

Janis Card Co., LLC, Samuel S. Card, CPA, P.C., and Samuel S. Card, who are among the auditors listed in the suit, fired back last week with comments about finances being the city’s responsibility. Its lawyer said the city was negligent protecting its finances.

CliftonLarsonAllen’s attorneys will be expected to file a defense soon.

Then the answer to Reinhard’s question will be debated by both sides.

Last week didn’t close the book, like so many Dixon residents had hoped. It opened a chapter in the ongoing story. In many ways, the answers to the Crundwell case continue, including that fundamental question: “How did it go on for so long?”

Stay tuned.

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