Feds Reveal Crundwell Horse Sale Details

Prospective buyers will soon be able to bid on horses seized from embattled Quarter Horse breeder Rita Crundwell, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Earlier this year federal law enforcement agents arrested Crundwell and charged her with one count of wire fraud after a federal grand jury in Illinois indicted her for allegedly misappropriating $53 million in funds from the town of Dixon, where she had served as city comptroller since the 1980s. Crundwell pleaded not guilty to the wire fraud charge. More than 400 horses connected to the case were later seized and placed in the U.S. Marshals Service's custody. Contractors were hired to manage the animals until they could be sold at auction with proceeds applied to restitution to Dixon.

On July 24, U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Jason R. Wojdylo said that the animals will be sold in mid-September at live auction at the Crundwell Red Brick Road Farm in Dixon. Professional Auction Services Inc., of Round Hill, Va., will carry out the sale of the horses and related equipment, Wojdylo said. The contractor will release auction dates on or before Aug. 1, he said.

"Contractor performance will be closely monitored by the U.S. Marshals Service to ensure the highest level of integrity," Wojdylo said.

Jim Bret Campbell, senior director of marketing and publications for the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), said that organization's main concern is the horses' welfare, including their placement into good homes. Meanwhile, AQHA expects the sale of so many high-profile animals at one time to have little long-term impact on the Quarter Horse industry.

"There might be an impact on the halter industry," Campbell said. "But there are 200,000 horse transfers each year, and as far as long-term industry-wide impact, we don't see that becoming reality."

Prospective buyers will be able to bid on the animals at the live auction and online via the contractor's website. A buyer's premium is the only authorized fee charged to a buyer, Wojdylo said.

All preview/inspection periods and auctions will be open to the public without charge of an admission fee. Private sales will not be allowed, Wojdylo said.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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