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April 23, 2024

Northern Illinois University – allowing employee to live in dorm –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On March 30, 2015

DeKalb, IL. (ECWd) –

Update 3-31-2015: We have been informed that Wilson is no longer employed at NIU. This happened sometime after we attended their Board of Trustees meeting in March.

Northern Illinois University appears to have some strange things going on with their employees. First, there is a report from NIU’s student newspaper that a consultant was paid $463,125.00 in 18 months. Did I mention he lives in the State of Washington? Additionally, he received over $32,000.00 of unauthorized travel reimbursement from his home in Washington to NIU where he worked.

Next up is the employee that has been given a place to live in the college dormitory – rent free – for over a year.

Mr. Ken Wilson, who is working without a contract and has been staying in Grant A Tower for over a year rent free. The college says “there is no value” in the apartment since it is an “unused staff apartment“, therefore he is not charged rent.

Here is the response to my Freedom of Information Act request:

Per the record custodians for this information, Ken Wilson has lived at Grant A Tower since 2/3/14.  So there were 331 days in CY2014.  He is still there at this time so that would be 54 days to date in CY2015.  Mr. Wilson is staying in an unused staff apartment.  Consequently, there are no rooms of similar size with similar amenities in the same building for someone who might have to pay to stay.   Finally, with regard to any and all contracts for Ken Wilson, per the legal and procurement offices there are no contracts between Mr. Ken Wilson and Northern Illinois University.

It strikes me odd that an employee can live rent free in the same building as students whose parents pay $6,000.00 per semester for their student’s apartments – but the college says “there is no value there” for the employee. To me, assuming Wilson’s apartment is the same size and not bigger than a student apartment, he owes over $22,000.00 in rent payments to the college, assuming a cheaper rent period for the summer semester, then you have to add in the television service and internet.

This information will be forwarded to the DeKalb County Supervisor of Assessments for them to assess this apartment for property taxes. An employee apartment is not tax free real estate (rent payments or not) – it serves no educational or exempt purpose!


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  • Ed Franckowiak
    Posted at 22:58h, 30 March
  • jannie
    Posted at 08:02h, 31 March

    About the employee- even though the University may consider it (apartment) no value — I would think the IRS would consider it’s value as part of the employee pay 🙂
    What makes this particular employee so special they get a free room. I could see the University doing this for maybe a week or month at the most. Companies and schools may often provide/pay for a motel for a few days or week while the person looks for housing. This situation seems over the top.

  • George Barraclough
    Posted at 10:44h, 31 March

    See IRS Publication No. 525 for further information. The following is included text in that document.

    Expenses paid by another. If your personal expenses are paid for by another person, such as a corporation, the payment may be taxable to you depending upon your relationship with that person and the nature of the payment. But if the payment makes up for a loss caused by that person, and only restores you to the position you were in before the loss, the payment is not includible in your income.

    Ken, you still have 15 more days to report the FMV of the free apartment on your 1040 tax return!