Washington - Today, the Justice Department filed a motion with the federal court in the Northern District of Illinois requesting it approve a settlement agreement to resolve in favor of the government the 20 percent interest held by Rita Crundwell in Humphrey Family Farms, an Illinois general partnership that owns 342 acres of farmland in Lee County. In exchange for $665,000, the government has agreed to allow the transfer of her interest to the remaining partners, each who hold bona fide interests in the partnership. With court approval, net proceeds of the transaction will be available for transfer to the city of Dixon in partial satisfaction of the restitution order against Rita Crundwell.
In arriving at the settlement, the U.S. Marshals Service valued the assets of the partnership and determined that a fair and equitable cash value of Crundwell’s 20 percent partnership interest is $665,000. Additionally, a $5,000 distribution payable to her was forfeited for years 2012, 2013 and 2014, for a total $15,000. In total, the government anticipates recovering $680,000 from Crundwell’s 20 percent interest in the partnership.
“I should be clear; much work and a variety of factors went into carefully evaluating a rather complex asset to arrive at a fair, equitable and reasonable cash value,” said Jason Wojdylo, Chief Inspector with the U.S. Marshals Service Asset Forfeiture Division. “The asset is not farmland, as some may believe, but instead a 20 percent interest in a family partnership. In arriving at a fair market value, we considered that the interest is a minority interest and applied a ‘lack of marketability’ discount, which is generally recognized by the Internal Revenue Code.
“Reaching this agreement with some of the siblings of Rita Crundwell, each who had no part in her criminal conduct, but instead became parties to this action due to their sister’s unprecedented betrayal of the trust placed in her by the city of Dixon, closes out one of the last known remaining significant assets in this case.
“Should the court determine the terms of the settlement are acceptable, the city of Dixon will soon be the recipient of the net proceeds as described in the agreement. Throughout this case the Department of Justice has been on the front lines advocating for the victim, recognized to be the city of Dixon. We acknowledge each of the remaining four partners are among its citizens.”
If the court grant today’s motion, the government will have recovered net proceeds of $10.3 million in asset liquidation over the past more than three years since the arrest of Crundwell on April 17, 2012, from Dixon City Hall where she was employed as comptroller. This includes more than $1 million since she was sentenced to 235 months in prison on Feb. 14, 2013.
On a related note, the U.S. Marshals Service plans to hold a third online auction of personal property once belonging to Crundwell starting Jan. 19 at www.txauction.com. Auctions that closed on Nov. 3 and Dec. 1 generated $124,392 in proceeds.