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Fate of Crundwell pensions to be discussed in court Sept. 29

Former city comptroller contesting inclusion of pension for restitution

Published: Monday, Sept. 22, 2014 3:19 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Sept. 22, 2014 10:28 p.m. CDT
(Alex T. Paschal/
Former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell is seen outside of the federal courthouse in Rockford on Nov. 14, 2012, after pleading guilty to a single count of federal wire fraud. Whether her federal pension will be included in her court-ordered repayment of $54 million to the city of Dixon will be discussed Sept. 29 in court.

DIXON – Rita Crundwell doesn't think her pension funds should be part of a court-ordered repayment of the nearly $54 million she stole from the city of Dixon.

Motions will be presented next week in federal court regarding the inclusion of the former Dixon comptroller's pension funds in her court-ordered restitution to the city.

Crundwell, who was arrested in April 2012 and later convicted of stealing $53.7 million from the city over 2 decades, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. State's Attorney's Office on Aug. 30.

"I wish to object to the inclusion of these funds in the judgment," she said in the letter from a federal prison in Waseca, Minnesota. "I feel these funds should be exempt."

Motions will be made Sept. 29 in Chicago regarding her Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, which has $73,104.50, and another fund, through Nationwide Retirement Solutions, that has $17,461.36, according to court documents.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall Samborn, the public information officer for the office, declined to comment on the case. He said many variables make it unclear how Judge Philip Reinhard will proceed Sept. 29.

Among those uncertainties is legal representation for Crundwell, he said.

Paul Gaziano, a federal public defender who represented Crundwell in her criminal trial, said on Monday that he wasn't representing her in this matter.

In her letter, Crundwell said she had "no money or assets to hire an attorney" and asked that one be appointed to her.

As of Thursday, Crundwell had an outstanding balance of $44,452,507.96 from the restitution she was ordered to pay, according to court records.

In December, the city received a $9.2 million check from the sale of Crundwell's property and assets. Money from other assets, such as her stake in 347 acres of farmland near Dixon, have come into the city as well.

The city also received $30 million from a settlement with its former auditors and bank. That money does not count toward the restitution Crundwell must pay.

With the recovery money, the city has paid off some of its debt and placed funds into reserves. It also used $1 million for the River Street sewer project and authorized the use of up to $1.2 million for repairs to the Dixon Public Library, leaving about $10 million.

What you're saying

A number of people commented on this story on our Facebook page Monday. Here are some of those comments. You can "Like" us on Facebook at

"Take it all. Leave her with nothing." – Austin Clevenger

"Since when does a thief get paid for time spent robbing from the people that she worked for?" – Cindy Boyenga

"Really? How does she plan to pay the rest back? She doesn't need her pension in prison anyway!" – Dacia Marie Nelson

"Her pension should go back to the city and be used for something for the kids in town!" – Ron Gaulke

"Real sorry, but you lost all your say when you became a self absorbed thief." – Rick Bess

"Poor, poor Rita. We care as much about you as you cared about the citizens of Dixon. You don't deserve a penny of that pension." – Barbara Tracz Cheffer

"Why would this even be open for discussion? People quit caring about what Rita Crundwell thinks $53 million ago!" – Cathy Jim Wannemacher

"Is she high?" – Andra Henson

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