Dixon legacy tarnished by Crundwell embezzlement?

In Dixon, Illinois they’re cleaning up former President Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home in the hopes of plenty of visitors.

But, there are concerns that a recent embezzlement scandal could overshadow the city’s reputation.

“They were probably very glad to have an indoor bathroom in 1920,” said Nell Nooney, who, for the last seven years has guided tours of Reagan’s childhood home. “I get to meet a lot of interesting people and it gives my life a little more interest.”

The home opened to the public in early April, with tour groups expected throughout the summer.

“Right now, with the end of the school year, we’ve got a lot of class tours, a lot of kids will come through,” said Brandi Langner, Executive Director of the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home Preservation Foundation.

But, Dixon’s now on the map for something other than the Reagan legacy.

A dark cloud hangs over the city after former treasurer Rita Crundwell, was accused of stealing $30 million.

People in the town don’t want that to detract from the fact that Dixon is still the birthplace of Ronald Reagan.

“That is a big scandal for us,” said Nooney. “Naturally, everyone’s aghast.”

The FBI says Crundwell stole the money to finance an extensive horse farm, vehicles and jewelry.

Langner says the allegations stand in stark contrast to the principles revered by the former President.

“We want everyone to remember that Dixon has hometown values and this is a reflection of what we have to offer here,” said Langner.

Dixon city leaders will meet with a local accounting firm Thursday to discuss how to proceed with a forensic audit that could reveal how Crundwell got away with the alleged embezzlement.

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