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Crundwell motor home auctioned off for $800k

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012 3:40 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012 4:22 p.m. CDT

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DIXON – Rita Crundwell's set of luxury wheels is going home – literally.

Luxury motor home manufacturer Liberty Coach has snagged Crundwell's 2009 Liberty Elegant Lady Coach, which they sold to her in 2008, for $800,000 during an online auction that ended this morning.

The company initially came in with a high bid of $765,030, which was rejected by the U.S. Marshals Service, said Jason Wojdylo, chief inspector for the marshals’ asset forfeiture division

Through negotiations, the company agreed to pay the $800,000 maximum bid that it had set during the auction, Wojdylo said.

That prices includes a $5,000 deposit that bidders had to make, Wojdylo said.

The motor home and numerous other properties and items have been under the care of the marshals service since shortly after Crundwell was indicted on federal wire fraud.

Prosectors say she misappropriated more than $53 million in city funds since 1990. She also is charged with 60 counts of theft in Lee County.

Frank Konigseder, vice president of Liberty Coach, declined to comment on the sale.  Marshals have been given the green light by a federal judge to sell off many of her assets, including the sale of her herd of 401 horses.

An online and live auction of the horses, tack, equipment and trucks netted more than $6.4 million.

That money, minus costs and liens, will be given back to the city if Crundwell is convicted, marshals say.

Crundwell bought the motor home from Liberty Coach in July 2008 for about $2.1 million and had it customized to her liking. She still owed about  $434,000.

It has a king-sized bed, five TVs, a leather couch and chairs, a full kitchen and a washer and dryer. 

Marshals initially tried to sell the motor home through a sealed bid process and had set a minimum bid of $1 million. 

The only bid came in at $750,000, Wojdylo said. Liberty Coach was not that bidder, he added.

"I think the process proved that it was the highest we can get," Wojdylo said. "Of course I'm not necessarily happy that [Crundwell] paid $2.1 million and we were only able to achieve $800,000, but I can't control market conditions."

He added, "I think if we had not accepted the $800,000 bid, it placed a serious risk of finding a perspective buyer and costs us storage [fees]."

Texas-based Apple Towing Co. is selling the RV for the U.S. Marshals Service. It will receive a 3 percent commission from the sale.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnrews.com.

See: Dismantling of Rita's empire

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