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July 13, 2024

NIU’s IT Director, James Fatz, used NIU equipment in for-profit private business –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On February 2, 2016

DeKalb, IL. (ECWd) –
Local Sycamore attorney Nicholas Cronauer represents Vantage Electrical group against a former employee whom allegedly stole data from their company. Mr. Cronauer hired forensic expert Andy Garrett of Garrett Discovery whom testified regarding the data theft in a hearing held in Dekalb County. The judge further ordered the defendant to have her computer analyzed by a forensic specialist.

The defendants counsel, Regina Harris, with Harris and Associates, called NIU and inquired if their IT department knew of anyone and was referred to their IT Director James Fatz. Through conversations and email it was learned by counsel for the defendant and plaintiff that Mr. Fatz owned his own company Cyber Tech Security (, was using NIU equipment and resources in his own business for profit.

This became the subject of a motion filed by the plaintiff to exclude Mr. Fatz for what is viewed as unethical. Mr. Fatz answered many emails, calls and negotiated prices while on the clock for NIU and even admitted via email that he was using NIU’s equipment for his private business.

This was noticed by Illinois State Representative Dwight Kay, whom has filed a FOIA request with NIU inquiring into aspects of Mr. Fatz’s employment and relationship with NIU.

Attorney Nicholas Cronauer: (815) 895-8585 [email protected]

Attorney Regina Harris: (815) 895-1966 [email protected]

The FOIA request Rep Kay sent can be obtained by FOIA requesting the FOIA request from NIU by contacting Joan Laurino Deputy FOIA officer at NIU.

See Motion attached and excerpt from Rep Kay’s FOIA request and excerpt from motion below:

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  • G. Barraclough
    Posted at 08:58h, 03 February Reply

    President Baker, his wife, Magalay Rodrigues, Keith Ickes, James Fatz; ‘these people’ (again, being kind) are a cancer on NIU. “Chief Inspiration Officer.” What a croc! They are just plain common thieves plundering NIU and the good, tax paying citizens of Illinois. They DO NOT CARE A LICK about NIU students and their families.

    Shame on the NIU Board of Trustees for hiring these people and letting them continue their plundering of tax dollars and the tuition dollars of NIU students.


    In the very popular series currently in it’s last season on public television there is a scene in which the Crawley family is leaving Duneagle Castle. Lord MacClare tells Lady Crawley:

    Hugh ‘Shrimpie’ MacClare, Marquess of Flintshire: “Love is like riding or speaking French: if you don’t learn it young, it’s hard to get the trick of it later.”

    And so it is with the NIU crew mentioned above. It appears none of them ever learned basic (or advanced professional) honesty and correct moral behavior (in a Judeo-Christian culture) when they were young. Their actions in recent years at NIU are conclusive proof that they can’t get the trick of it in later years.

    And by the way, I wonder if any of them has ever said: “what is a weekend?”

  • Theodore P. Hartke, PE, PLS, President, Hartke Engineering and Surveying, Inc.
    Posted at 21:40h, 03 February Reply

    I think a private company or private person should be able to use a public computer and software to serve other members of the public. My company uses computers to look up land records at the recorder’s office. We certainly charge for our time to do this research. I can see a problem if I was charging for “computer expense” while the computer I was using was provided by the taxpayers for this purpose. I think his usage of a public computer should be OK as long as everyone has the ability to use this computer. Let’s say this public computer is in a public access area, such as a library. If my local public library had a computer with AutoCAD software, I think I could go there and work on survey drawings for my business. This certain computer expert certainly was forthright and appears to have provided “full disclosure” that he planned to use public computer and software to complete this project. He should DEFINITELY NOT be doing this work during his normal university related work business hours unless he reports vacation time off. I can see how it could be pretty tough “moonlighting” as a public employee. There are some instances, depending on the circumstances, that I can see some justification to proceeding with work like this as long as there is full disclosure and this has some sort of approval by elected officials or staff supervisors up to a reasonable level. Fatz gave full disclosure, right??

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 22:20h, 03 February Reply

      We will discuss his “full disclosure” in a future article.

  • Kathy
    Posted at 23:58h, 03 February Reply

    As a hard working, ethical and underpaid employee of NIU I want to express my thanks for your tireless effort in reporting. That being said I think many of us feel completely helpless in what’s going on here at NIU. On the one hand we (or at least I) feel that some form of walkout or protest should happen until certain people are booted out and on the other hand we actually do care about the students we serve and know that that action would hurt them. So we trundle on handling more workloads as more people leave and their work is shifted to those remaining and all with no increase in pay, while our leaders hop on paid air fare trips gobbling up nonexistent (or so we’re told) state funds. Needless to say moral is at an all time low and the only reason we smile each day is to make it a little easier on our coworkers and the students who are piling up student debt hoping for a decent education. Thanks again and keep up the good work, and if I didn’t work for the state I’d make a donation. FEEL THE BERN

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