UPDATE: Eight employees at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb have been placed on paid leave after they were charged with crimes in connection in the alleged scheme.
University statement: Allegations of employee misconduct are of grave concern to Northern Illinois University’s leaders and our community. Because of this concern and upon being advised of the existence of a private “coffee fund” bank account, the university immediately initiated an investigation on Aug. 3 to discover the truth behind the “coffee fund” bank account, its purpose and history. NIU’s police department was assigned to conduct the investigation the very day the initial allegation was received.
According to NIU Police and Public Safety spokesperson Sgt. Alan Smith, the department turned over its findings from the ‘coffee fund’ investigation directly to the DeKalb County State’s Attorney on Sept. 4. He said although findings were submitted to the State’s Attorney, the department’s investigation related to the case is ongoing.
NIU administrators continue to cooperate with what has been labeled by the NIU police as an ongoing criminal investigation. The university respects the State’s Attorney’s authority to investigate and bring charges and is mindful that each employee remains innocent until the adjudicatory process establishes otherwise.
After a thorough review of state civil service statutes and regulations as well as university employment policies and practices, Northern Illinois University has placed each of the eight employees charged as a result of the “coffee fund” investigation on administrative leave. During the administrative leave period the eight employees—in accordance with state civil service statutes and university policy—will receive regular salary.
A total of nine were charged by the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office on Tuesday, Oct. 16, as a result of the investigation. The ninth person is no longer an employee of NIU.
From The Chicago Tribune: Nine current and former employees of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb have been charged with felonies in an alleged scheme to sell university scrap materials. Eight of the individuals have been charged with felony theft, including a former senior administrator, Robert Albanese, who had been the university's associate vice president for finance and facilities before resigning in July. Employees allegedly sold university scrap materials, including those from campus building renovations, and used the money as a slush fund for holiday parties, retirement celebrations and similar social uses.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Northern Illinois University in DeKalb paid two senior administrators nearly $80,000 when they resigned while under investigation for misconduct. One of the two employees who resigned in July was John Gordon, director of the university's 10,000-seat Convocation Center, which hosts about 200 events a year. Gordon allegedly had a Convocation Center custodian go at least four times in the past year to his home, where she cleaned the windows and floors, washed dishes and vacuumed. Gordon's supervisor, Robert Albanese, an associate vice president who had worked at university for 25 years, also resigned in July as he faced separate allegations of misconduct, according to his resignation agreement.