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July 20, 2024

Court Orders NIU to pay $56,878 for Open Meeting Lawsuit stating “defendant must play by the rules” –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On March 29, 2018

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.

Haji-Sheikh stated: 

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.”

Misty Haji-Sheikh


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  • Bonnie
    Posted at 19:10h, 29 March Reply

    Wow if village of chatham won this we could pay off debt for crappy water

  • Mike Haji-Sheikh
    Posted at 20:33h, 29 March Reply

    The plaintiff substantially won her case

  • Robert O. Bogue
    Posted at 06:45h, 30 March Reply

    YES, YES, Yes…there is some hope for the State of Illinois….after all! Thank you judge of simply doing your job and following the law….and for enforcing it too! If Illinois corruption is ever to be reigned in, it will be through the use of FOIA laws and real transparency.

  • danni smith
    Posted at 08:17h, 30 March Reply

    this a victory with the bitter taste that taxpayers will pay this, not the stupid, ignorant, corrupt, people who violated the law.

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