An unprecedented number of quarter horses owned by former Dixon comptroller and champion AQHA breeder, Rita Crundwell, are being sold in two auctions.
The first online auction is scheduled for September 11 and 12. Horses boarded across the country, in more than a dozen states, including Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Connecticut will be included.
U.S. Marshals also announced a live auction scheduled for September 23 and 24 at Crundwell’s Dixon Ranch. Performance horses will sell on Sunday and halter horses on Monday. A three day block for inspections will be scheduled prior to the sale. Those dates have not been released.
Professional Auction Services is managing the sales. The company will receive a 10% buyer’s premium, which is added onto the winning bid, at the fall of the gavel. If the bid exceeds $250,000, the company’s take is 8%, according to the company’s agreement with the Marshals. The auction is drawing international interest, however experts say their goal is “helping the horses realize their best values.”
The Feds say caring for the horses costs about $200,000 month. U.S. Marshal Darryl McPherson says his objective is, “to provide sound care for the horses while keeping costs under control and to be able to return the greatest amount to any victims of the alleged crime at the conclusion of this process.”
Marshals say there will not be any private sales. A total of 393 horses are currently scheduled to be included in the sale.
Eighty-two horses have been born since authorities took over the horses’ care. Another two horses recently died, bringing the current death total to eight. The number is consistent with last year’s deaths according to authorities. A mare in Illinois recently died of colic. Marshals say she was insured. The second mare was euthanized in Texas at the recommendation of the vet due to “extensive loss of bone in its right front limb from compromised arterial circulation with impossibly poor prognosis for a pain-free existence.”
Prosecutors say Crundwell stole more than $53 million from the sleepy Illinois town and financed her quarter horse breeding, showing, and lavish lifestyle with the proceeds. A judge approved the sale of the horses, her properties, and her luxury motor home. A recent attempt to sell the RV under sealed bid, with a reserve of $1 million, was unsuccessful. The properties will be sold at a later date.
Crundwell pleaded not guilty to wire fraud.