Dixon City Comptroller Arrested for Defrauding City of $30 Million

-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.

About Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago-based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com, BigJournalsim.com and all Breitbart News' other sites, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, and many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs across the country to discuss his opinion editorials and current events as well as appearing on TV networks such as CNN, Fox News, Fox Business Network, and various Chicago-based news programs. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture" which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston and follow him on Twitter, on Google Plus , and Facebook.
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13 Responses to Dixon City Comptroller Arrested for Defrauding City of $30 Million

  1. Publius says:

    3 Hours from Chicago? Man, you need to get out more.

    Or at least visit Google Maps now and then. (Here, I’ll help: 103 mi, 1 hour 47 mins)

  2. Warner Todd Huston says:

    Alright, then, two hours. But it is fully two hours from Chicago. Traffic makes it longer than what you read on Google maps, sir! LOL

  3. Steve des Islets says:

    Mr. Houston, I have read several accounts of this story and as yet I have seen no political association referenced with regard to Ms Crundwell. Do you happen to know?

  4. Roberta says:

    This story is just amazing…pure and simple. That amount of money makes it historic. One thing I am curious about: How did no one else know about this? Was she married? Didn’t her spouse/family know that the money just did not add up? It will be interesting to see what the FBI finds in her horse business dealings.

  5. Warner Todd Huston says:

    Steve, I, too, have been trying to figure that out. It seems to me that maybe they don’t run on parties in Dixon? I wonder that because there is never any identification of her party in any web report I’ve seen even from before her arrest.

    • Steve des Islets says:

      Mr. Huston – call me cynical, but I suspect if she were a registered Republican it would be at least in every paragraph of the other stories I’ve read. Please keep me informed.


      • Ms. French says:

        Steve and Mr. Houston – I agree with the both of you. Every article I read focused on specifics of what was purchased, for instance, a “featherlite” trailer was mentioned in one but details on party affiliation were all together avoided.

  6. Philster says:

    I am naturally suspicious of the MSM, and since this story was first reported by the Chicago Tribune, I was even more suspicious. Typically, if the political party of the scandalous politician isn’t mentioned, that means the guilty person is a Democrat. Given the Trib’s favoritism towards the Democratic Party, it’s a no-brainer to say she’s a Dem.

    However, she is not an elected official. Since she is appointed instead of elected, her party affilliation isn’t obvious. Her political party is easily available in Illinois, because you have to declare when you vote in a primary. That information is available in the County Clerk’s office, although I don’t know if it is online.

    If you ask me, the smart money is on her being a Democrat.

  7. klnr says:

    What rock are you living under?
    EVERYONE knows that the Trib is republican and has gotten so far right lately that they don’t even try to show any semblance of unbiased journalism.
    Watch what the paper is calling “investigative reporting,” read kass, and look at stantis’ “cartoons.” look at the “editorials.”
    Listen to WGN radio & TV.
    The tv news is so slanted with right wing political propaganda that is is almost unwatchable! Tom Skilling is the only thing worthwhile in the whole newscast.
    I guess that your statement that “it is a no-brainer” that she is a dem proves that YOU have NO brain.
    I look forward to the trib “investigating” this. Maybe a freedom of info request is in order.

    • Warner Todd Huston says:

      I leave klnr’s post up, folks, to show that some people are simply too whacked out to perceive reality as it truly is and live in a twilight zone of partisan stupidity.

      • Ken Gage says:

        Mr. Huston:

        Leaving the post up of ‘klnr’ will only serve to show what a Twilight Zone world you must be living in. The Chicago Tribune endorses Republicans, not Democrats. WGN TV & radio leans right — and it shows. (The Sun-Times is the liberal paper.)

        As for Rita’s party affiliation, I have also had difficulty finding a definitive answer. On a local level, party affiliation is generally unnecessary, especially in the boonies.

        Best Regards,


        • Warner Todd Huston says:

          Talk about the Twilight zone. Imagining that the Chgo Trib is only a Republican newspaper shows you;ve never read the thing!