Dekalb, IL., Northern Illinois University (NIU) - (ECWd) -
Today brings the end to a lawsuit filed against the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees for an Open Meetings Act violation when they voted earlier last year on former NIU President Baker's golden parachute, or Presidential Transition Agreement.
Twenty-third Circuit Judge Bradley J. Waller Ordered defendant NIU to pay Plaintiff Misty Haji-Sheikh's attorney fees and court costs in the total amount of $56,878.89.
Stating the Plaintiff obtained the relief she sought, in his Order, he chastised the University for their decision in furthering this litigation by refusing to re-visit the issue and properly approving it at a subsequent public meeting when the issue was brought to their attention.
Honorable Judge Waller: ". . . Defendant must play by the rules. This Court was extremely critical of how defendant handled this situation. It could have done a do over once it was brought to its attention that this may have been an OMA violation. It made the decision not [to] do that until after the Court's decision. It chose to believe that OMA was not violated thereby inviting a challenge to its decision. . . defendant rolled the proverbial dice and lost. Consequences necessarily flow from such a decision."
PRESS RELEASE - For immediate Release
On March 29, 2018 Judge Bradley Waller entered a decision in Haji-Sheikh v NIU. The Court found that Misty Haji-Sheikh substantially prevailed and that NIU has to pay her lawyer's fees and court costs. The Court specifically explained that NIU could have avoided going to court once NIU had made aware of the Open Meetings Act issue andNIU chose to proceed to court. The Court awarded Haji-Sheikh $55,946.00 plus court costs of $932.89.
"The Edgar County Watchdogs assisted in initially identifying the OMA violation and assisted in locating an attorney who would prosecute the lawsuit on my behalf. I would also like to thank my lawyer Charles L. Philbrick. and his law firm Rathje & Woodward, LLC."