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April 22, 2024

NIU and College Town Partners – Part 2 –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On November 8, 2015

DeKalb, IL. (ECWd) –
In the first installment of College Town Partners, we introduced you to Tim Struthers (NIU Board Nominee), John Rey (Mayor of DeKalb), Bill Nicklas (Retired NIU VP), Douglas D. Baker and all public and private players that were visible.
Now we will introduce you to the invisible layer. This layer consists of some much lower key individuals and a venture capital firm.
The firm is called ZEA Mays, LLC and it is primarily owned by two individuals who have been long time DeKalb County residents.
The main character in this play is a gentleman named Doug Roberts, who was an heir to DeKalb Genetics Inc., and sold the business to Monsanto. His right hand operative, and an ex-DeKalb school board member, is a guy named Tom Matya.
Through his family foundation Doug Roberts donated $100,000 to the NIU Foundation to hire the team of consultants and lawyers to advise the College Town Partners.  During 2013 and 2014 these individuals funded various highly questionable activities.
Bill Nicklas’s calendar shows significant interaction with both Tim Struthers and Tom Matya and Doug Roberts. Unfortunately the calendar only shows the time the appointment and not the date they met. The dates that Nicklas set meetings to meet ZEA Mays, LLC (Doug Roberts and Tom Matya) were as follows:

  1. John-College-Locust Property Assembly for DeKalb 2020 Project Meeting 7/31/2013 15:027/31/2013 15:02 Roger Hopkins; Bill Nicklas; froberts at castlebank; Sue Schafer; Tim Struthers; Steve Irving; Keith Foster; Tom Matya
  2. Doug Roberts? 9/24/2013 14:18
  3. Roberts Group 9/25/2013 15:31
  4. Zea Mays/2020mtg. 9/25/2013 22:19
  5. Matyz/Struthers–Zea Mays 9/29/2013 22:08
  6. Chuck Hanlon/Doug Roberts/Ron Walters 11/3/2013 19:48
  7. Doug Roberts—there 4/14/2014 19:15
  8. Mtg with Roberts/Matya/Hanlon 5/23/2014 17:48
  9. Doug Roberts–Panera 9/9/2014 15:59

Is it a proper function of the University Foundation to act as a Tax Free conduit for commercial redevelopment?
See the NIU Foundation for the Urban Green bill, and the checks that paid for these activities.  See the below memo from Bill Nicklas explaining some of Doug Roberts involvement.
If it is legal, is it ethical?
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1 Comment
  • Michael Haji-Sheikh
    Posted at 12:18h, 09 November

    Tim Struthers will be in front of the Senate this week.