-By Warner Todd Huston
WIFR TV is reporting that the City Comptroller of Dixon, Ill, Rita A. Crundwell, 58, has been arrested by the FBI for misappropriating $3.2 million in city funds since last fall and over $30 million since 2006.
As the city comptroller, Crundwell handles all the city’s finances. She has held the appointed position since the 1980s and makes an $80,000 annual salary.
We have a curious public employee to thank for this revelation, too. Apparently, this haughty comptroller decided to take several months of unpaid vacation and during that leave another employee took over some of the comptroller duties. But the books seemed a bit off to this employee and an investigation was begun.
According to the complaint, Crundwell receives four weeks of paid vacation annually and she took an additional 12 weeks of unpaid vacation in 2011. In October last year, while Crundwell was away from work, a Dixon employee who served as her replacement requested all of the city’s bank statements. After reviewing them, the employee brought the records of a particular account to Mayor Burke’s attention. The September 2011 statement for that account showed three deposits totaling $785,000, as well as 84 checks drawn totaling $360,493, and 40 withdrawals totaling $266,605. Mayor Burke was unaware that this account existed, the complaint states, adding that he then went to law enforcement since none of the withdrawals appeared to be related to any legitimate business of the City of Dixon. Although the bank records show that the primary account holder is the City of Dixon, a joint account holder is listed as RSCDA, and the checks written on this account list the account holder as “R.S.C.D.A., C/O Rita Crundwell.”
Moral of the story: if you are going to steal from a city that doesn’t bother to keep any tabs on your decades-long campaign of theft, don’t take a long vacation leaving your records open to any curious city worker.
Crundwell is a pretty well known person in the world of horse breeding so one wonders if all the millions went to her horse business, an endeavor that is notorious as a money pit.
I mean, imagine this probable situation, that Crundwell is using taxpayer’s money to fly around the country with her silly horse breeding/showing hobby. Talk about galling!
While Illinoisans are losing jobs by the thousands, this thief is using our tax money to live a high lifestyle.
Dixon — known for hosting Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home — is just south west of Illinois’ third largest city, Rockford, and is about three hours west of Chicago.