With an online auction wrapped up last week, the city of Dixon, Ill., is slowly starting to make back the millions stolen by Rita Crundwell. So far, nearly eight million dollars have been made from the sale of Crundwell’s assets.
With the news of unexpected millions, comes big dreams.
“I think the Memorial Pool should be fixed up for the children in this town,” said resident Julia Cover.
The reality of where the recouped money is headed, though, is much starker.
“A lot of people just don’t realize how negative everything went,” explained new finance director Paula Meyer.
Over the past 10 years, the city’s operating fund made a nearly $30 million swing, putting Dixon nearly $20 million in the hole in 2012.
“The city is not flush with money, they’re not going to be flush with money for quite some time. We have to pay down our internal debt, what we borrowed from other funds,” said Meyer.
It means the money made from the Crundwell auctions isn’t extra — it’s already accounted for. In fact, said Meyer, once all the assets are sold, it still won’t be nearly enough to pay off the city’s deficits.
“It’s a horrible thing that it all happened; however, it did, so anything that we get back I think is a bonus, and the city should be very happy with whatever happens,” said resident Eric Brantley.
And while the city may not see it as a bonus, they haven’t lost hope either.
“I firmly believe that we will recover. It will just take some time. We aren’t going to make up the loss of $53 million overnight. It’s going to take years,” said Meyer.
Dixon hasn’t yet seen any of the money made from the auctions. The U.S. Marshal Service will give it to the city when the case is resolved.