CHICAGO (CBS) — Admitted embezzler and former Dixon city comptroller Rita Crundwell lived a lavish lifestyle fueled my millions of dollars she stole from the town.
On Thursday, hundreds of items from her homes in Illinois and Florida were up for auction, as part of federal authorities’ effort to get back some of the money she stole, and reimburse Dixon.
CBS 2’s Ed Curran’s been following the auction. Some of the furniture being sold off is very nice, especially at the relatively low prices compared to what you’d pay in a store. For example, a leather chair from her home in Dixon had a bid of $325 Thursday afternoon.
For some, who share Crundwell’s taste in furniture, it’s a great opportunity to get some expensive furniture at a bargain. For others, it’s validation that money doesn’t buy good taste.
CBS 2 first introduced you to Crundwell’s decorative stylings, with an exclusive look inside her Florida home. But it was the furnishings – the bed; the lamps; the wood, leather, cowboy and horse themes that got our attention.
Her collection of furniture and other home decorations should have some appeal for those into equine extravagance.
If you’re into horses or western design, the auction of Crundwell’s belongings is a one-stop shop.
Saddle stools from one of Crundwell’s homes were going for $1,600 at one point on Thursday. Also up for auction are a cup holder with horseshoe feet, and lots of gourds and boards; everything $53 million in embezzled funds can buy.
There’s no shortage of hides up for auction, including plenty of hide-covered lamps.
The furniture is leather or suede. One couch was going for $875 on Thursday. A similar couch at a Chicago furniture store was going for $4,100.
A hand-tooled leather coffee table done by a New Mexico artist is worth $6,000, but at one point Thursday, the high bid was only $500.
And who can forget Rita’s ornate, king-size bed? It features a carved steer on the headboard, cowhide on the footboard, and even a place to tie up your horse. Last we saw, the bed bidding was at $2,100.
The auction was scheduled to wrap up by the end of the week.
The U.S. Marshals Service said earlier auctions of Crundwell’s luxury motorhome, cars, boats and horses have brought in about $7.5 million.
In the town of Dixon, they’ve setup a school computer lab to help residents bid online, and own a piece of the estate they helped pay for.