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June 15, 2024

NIU’s history of enriching people who do bad things –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On December 5, 2017

Northern Illinois University – (ECWd) –

The Board of Trustees, appointed by the Governor of the State of Illinois (4 were appointed by Gov Rauner), has apparently taken the stand that when a state employee violates policy, state law, and commits crimes against the University, they are to be financially rewarded for their shortcomings.

Here are a few recent examples:

  • Pay the defense attorney bills for employees who plead GUILTY of crimes against the University (here)
  • Pay an employee, and assign him “special duties” after FOUNDED reports of sexual harassment are publicly released
  • Pay the President of NIU to go away, even though they have every right – and I would argue the fudiciary duty – to simply terminate him without any payments. A scathing report from the OEIG labeled his performance as “mismanagement of NIU” – and this was not the first FOUNDED report of his shortcomings.

We were initially contacted about NIU when local DeKalb County resident, Jim Mason, who was looking into the actions of NIU’s senior leaders and heard State Representative Jeanne Ives on a radio show talking about some of the same things he was finding at NIU. He later contacted Ives, who heard his issues with NIU, and put him in contact with us. This was during the time-frame we were reporting on the College of DuPage. We took it from there, with additional assistance from others.


Let’s say you are a state employee and work for, oh, NIU. You decide the above average paycheck and pension and healthcare and vacation days and all the other perks that come along with this state job are just too boring, you need to kick it up a notch and throw some parties…give some gifts…attend other social functions…just not with your own money. So you wake up one morning and say “Self, let’s go sell some “excess” stuff from our job-sites so we can pay for all these parties“, and that’s what you do… I forgot to mention you put the money in a private bank account…continue reading the entire article


NIU lets him stay on the payroll for a few more months. Read it (here).


On top of the mismanagement (read it here), was the University Senate vote of “no confidence” (Page 21 – here) with bulleted comments of specific items, one of which included:

  • Bypassing the BOT and the IBHE to form a “super-university” in which Baker would become the president. Baker paid a consultant $20,000 a month in early 2015 for work on this. 

Some of the key findings from the OEIG investigation included:

  • improper classification of contractors and affiliate employees
  • deliberate circumvention of the procurement policies in hiring these consultants
  • improper payments of travel and lodging (in NIU dormitories)
  • continuing to provide travel and lodging after knowing the payments were improper
  • misuse of public credit card
  • improper circumventing procurement policy in hiring of an executive search firm
  • NIU paid over $1 million in public funds to consultants who were not selected through a competitive procurement process
  • the hiring of Wilson, Rodriguez, Walters, and Pfeiffer “was a sham because the work they did for NIU did not fit within the definition of affiliate employment.”
  • deliberate misclassification of employees for the purpose of circumventing competitive procurement
  • President Douglas Baker Mismanaged Northern Illinois University and it was not credible that President Baker to claimed he was unaware of inappropriate classifications

Additional findings at NIU:

  • State Auditor slammed NIU for noncompliance with FOIA and records retention laws (here)
  • Senior Staff, and Baker hire, directs others to delete their emails to her “to protect themselves” (here)
  • $468,000 paid for a Baker “subcontractor hire “report” that was never issued (here)
  • Alleged software piracy of former NIU Director of IT, James Fatz (here)
  • Pres Baker used NIU credit cards for wife’s travel (here)
  • Voicemail left on how to avoid “harsh” government procurement practices (here) and (here)
  • Abuse of travel and procurement rules (here)
  • Employee living in a Dormitory and harassing others (here)

And a 2017 Presidential evaluation that included none of the above: (here)

To top it all off, Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees is set to vote on a $600,000 + “Presidential Transition Agreement” – the previous version declared VOID by the DeKalb Circuit Court for violating the Open Meetings Act. This new vote will be this Thursday, December 7, 2017. (read the sickening agreement here)

These trustees know they are simply giving YOUR money away, when what they should be doing is recommending Baker for criminal prosecutions, based on the OEIG findings.

This is not new to NIU, but simply a continuation of public employment policies throughout the State of Illinois – these types of self-enriching agreements happen across the state. Screw up bad enough to get asked for a resignation, then lobby for lucrative 6-figure severance packages. NIU should call it what it is, a severance package, and it should have been a simple “get the hell out of here before we throw you in jail” kind of package.

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  • Sharon
    Posted at 09:23h, 06 December Reply

    The consultants’ lodging also included suites at NIU’s hotel on campus.

  • Sharon
    Posted at 10:42h, 06 December Reply

    Another wasteful expenditure by the BoT included the Dec ’16 $1,000,000 settlement with ex Police Chief Grady, who was fired after his staff misfiled (deliberately?) a document that would exonerate a (white) NIU officer of a rape charge, and after the NIU police dept was called rogue by a sitting DeKalb county judge.

    Grady then filed a bogus and easily disproved racism claim as the basis of his termination. Grady had no case based on racism, yet the BoT willingly gave him $1,000,000 of taxpayers monies.

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