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Prosecute Crundwell again?

Commissioners in favor of going ahead with state charges

DIXON – The City Council would like to see state charges on Rita Crundwell move “full steam ahead.”

Lee County State’s Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller asked Mayor Jim Burke to get input from city commissioners Tuesday in regard to state charges against the former comptroller, who was sentenced Thursday to 19 years, 7 months in federal prison for stealing nearly $54 million from the city.

Crundwell is charged in Lee County with 60 counts of theft for stealing more than $11 million from the city since January 2010. If convicted, that sentence will run concurrent to the federal sentence.

Sacco-Miller said last week she would get information from city officials to determine the best course of action.

Commissioner Jeff Kuhn said the crime was not against the council, but the residents of Dixon, and echoed Burke, saying charges should move “full steam ahead.”

“Given the magnitude of the crime to the city, I’d like to see the evidence pursued,” Commissioner Colleen Brechon said.

Commissioner Dennis Considine said he would like to see charges go forward but did not want to speculate on the state’s attorney’s responsibilities.

Commissioner David Blackburn said he was not qualified to make this decision and chose not to give a comment either way.

Dixon resident Carol Fisher said she favors the state case proceeding.

Crundwell’s Lee County public defender, Bob Thompson, is considering filing a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that it may constitute double jeopardy.

Sacco-Miller said the federal judge thought his sentence would serve justice for both state and federal systems.

Also Tuesday, the City Council approved advertising for a full-time information technology employee. The city does not have an IT employee on staff.

The city budgets $80,000 to $85,000 for technology services and is looking for a full-time employee to reduce costs, Burke said.

Shawn Ortgiesen, city engineer and public works director, said the IT staffer could start by May 1 and would serve the City Hall and the police and water departments.

The City Council also said yes to a $14,500 loan for facade improvements to the Traditional Wellness Center (The Ginkgo Tree Cafe), 216 W. First St., which is owned by Trirong Khuntangta.

The low-interest facade loan program, which has about $150,000 in its account, has been used by many city businesses to make improvements. Each business has paid the balance.

The maximum amount that can be borrowed is $25,000. If a business does not pay the balance, a lien can be placed on its property.

The council also approved a sales agreement with Mark Dempsey on Reagan Symphony CD and DVD sales, proceeds from which benefit the Dixon Municipal Band.

For marketing the product, Dempsey will receive $1 for every $14.99 CD or $19.99 DVD sale.

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