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Still more Crundwell assets to seize, return

Loans to fire chief, former city engineer unresolved

Published: Saturday, May 10, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

DIXON – The U.S. Marshals Service isn’t done trying to seize the remaining assets of former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell.

In December, the city received a $9.2 million check from the sale of many of Crundwell’s assets – mainly 400 horses, her homes, and other large items.

Crundwell was arrested at City Hall in April 2012 for stealing nearly $54 million over 2 decades. In February 2013, she was sentenced to 19 years, 7 months in prison.

The Marshals Service and Jason Wojdylo, chief inspector of its asset forfeiture division, are working to seize 13 remaining assets and turn them over to the city.

Among those assets are personal loans Crundwell made to Fire Chief Tim Shipman and then-City Engineer Shawn Ortgiesen.

The amounts of those loans haven’t been released, and in April, Mayor Jim Burke told Sauk Valley Media’s editorial board that he wasn’t aware of the terms of the loans.

Wojdylo, who said he doesn’t know the terms of the loans, is working to obtain loan documents and take them under his control.

The other known remaining assets, already in cash form, according to Wojdylo, include Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund contributions, a retirement fund with Nationwide, $1,000 in inheritance, and scholarships and royalties of the American Quarter Horse Association.

Other assets, which would have to be appraised before being sold, according to Wojdylo, include a trophy collection; show clothing; personal effects such as household items; an old pickup truck currently in possession of a Crundwell family member; offspring of the horses she owned; and a stake in a family partnership.

Monetizing some of those assets, like offspring from Crundwell’s former horses and the personal effects, can be complicated and not yield a large return, but Wojdylo said he’ll explore every option and any new leads.

“I don’t want to spend a lot of money and make this worthless for me and the city,” he said. “And I also don’t want to leave assets on the table.”

The family trust is split five ways and controls 347 acres of farmland near Dixon. The Marshals Service has a 20 percent voting stake, equal to other family members, so it doesn’t have complete control over what happens.

There are options, Wojdylo said, which include selling the share in the partnership or selling 20 percent of the land.

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