UPDATE 11/14/12: The trailer/lab equipment auction yielded $56,450. The trailer went for $31,500.
UPDATE: Crundwell changed plea to guilty: see follow-up stories.
Time is running out for anyone interested in getting a deal on a horse hematology lab. The auctioning of former Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell’s possessions continues, with a trailer and lab equipment on the on-line block until Wednesday night.
Crundwell is accused of stealing $53-million from the city of Dixon over more than twenty years. That money was allegedly used to support a lavish lifestyle as an internationally-known horse breeder. She has been charged in federal court with one count of wire fraud: at the state level, Crundwell is charged with 60 counts of theft. A federal judge, with Crundwell’s permission, has allowed her possessions to be auctioned off. So far, her horses, vehicles, and some equipment have sold for more than $7-million. If she’s found guilty, that money, minus the federal government’s expenses, will go back to the city of Dixon. If Crundwell is cleared, she gets to keep the money.
The current on-line auction is a short, three-day sale of items federal officials had hoped to include in earlier auctions. But bids on the 40-foot box trailer did not reach the desired minimum dollar amount and the lab equipment was not approved for release in time for an earlier auction. The lab equipment available now was used in Crundwell’s horse-breeding operations. It includes microscopes, a microchip reader, and equipment to analyze blood and sperm. The auction started Monday and ends Wednesday at 7:00 pm central time.
U.S. Marshals plan another auction December 6th through 8th. That’s when some of Crundwell’s personal items will be auctioned off, such as clothes, jewelry, and furnishings from her homes in Dixon and Florida. Dates have not yet been set for the sale of Crundwell’s properties.
Next Court Appearances: UPDATED (3:30 pm, November 13th, 2012)
Crundwell is due in federal court in Rockford for a status hearing Wednesday, November 14th. She is expected to change her plea from "not guilty" to "guilty." For more details, see http://northernpublicradio.org/post/crundwell-pleads-not-guilty-court
Her next court date in Lee County on the state charges is December 19th.