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Residents have ideas on spending $40M

Some say Crundwell saga not over

Published: Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013 11:26 a.m. CDT
(Alex T. Paschal/
Dixon residents Vincent Bennett, 22, and Crystal Woodward, 47, give their opinions on the city's $40 million out-of-court settlement Wednesday at the Dixon Public Library. Bennett says he is interested to see where the money goes. Woodward says she isn't convinced the settlement signals the end of the Rita Crundwell saga.
(Alex T. Paschal/
Julia Hage, a retiree in her 70s, would like to see some of Dixon's settlement money be used for fixing streets and renovating the old Memorial Pool.
(Alex T. Paschal/
Local resident Robert Romero, 29, hopes Dixon's settlement money can help fund youth programs.
(Alex T. Paschal/
Dean Sheaffer, 74, a local landscape architect, believes the money from Dixon's $40 million out-of-court settlement should go toward infrastructure updates.

DIXON – Dean Sheaffer says he had thought Dixon would get a lot less than the $40 million it received as part of an out-of-court settlement Wednesday. 

And like other area residents, the 74-year-old had some ideas about how he would like the city to spend the money.

"There is a backlog of infrastructure and streets," the landscape architect said in the parking lot outside the Dixon Public Library. "There is someone with a list of things to be done – to get the city in good physical shape."

The settlement money comes from the city's auditors and bank, which officials blamed for former Comptroller Rita Crundwell's theft of nearly $54 million over two decades. 

The city's attorneys will receive $10 million of the settlement money, and the city expects more than $10 million from the sale of Crundwell's assets.

"This has been very disruptive," Sheaffer said. "It will be a while before we put this behind us."

That was the sentiment of others interviewed at the library late Wednesday afternoon. 

"There's a lot more that needs to be settled. I think there are things deeper that haven't come to light," said Crystal Woodward, 47, a cook for Bombdigity Bar & Grill in Dixon. "It's not all over."

Vincent Bennett, 22, a Dixon resident who works at McDonald's, said he would like to know how the money would be spent. He suggested street improvements and the renovation of the old Memorial Pool, which closed more than a dozen years ago.

Julia Hage, a retiree in her 70s, said she heard the news about the $40 million on Chicago radio station WBBM. 

"I thought it was exciting," she said. "I didn't think the city would get that much."

Like Bennett, she wanted the money to go toward streets and the pool.

Robert Romero, 29, a Dixon resident, said he thought $10 million for the attorneys was far too much. 

He said he would like to see the money benefit youth, particularly those with disabilities. Also, he would like to see investments to provide children with things to do, so they stay off drugs.

"There's nothing for them to do," he said.

Related links

City will evaluate debt, overdue projects

Dixon to recoup $40 million

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