DeKALB – Northern Illinois University officials issued their own statement Tuesday in response to DeKalb County State's Attorney Clay Campbell, who said his office was "closely monitoring" an investigation into alleged misconduct at Northern Illinois University.
"We welcome the continued involvement of DeKalb County States’ Attorney Clay Campbell in the ongoing investigation of the allegations regarding the existence of an NIU coffee fund account," the university statement said. "... Mr. Campbell’s office has been kept appraised of the investigation by NIU law enforcement, as his (Mr. Campbell’s) cooperation and assistance has been essential to proceed with the investigation.
"After all, the investigation itself was initiated by the university within less than two hours of receiving the allegations."
"The integrity of this great university is not at issue," the statement continued. "For over 110 years, thousands upon thousands of students’ lives have been transformed as a result of the educational opportunities they received at NIU. NIU will not cease investigating this allegation or any further allegations that may arise until a thorough and complete investigation is performed, no matter where it leads."
DeKalb County State’s Attorney Clay Campbell said Monday that his office is closely monitoring the investigation into alleged misconduct at Northern Illinois University.
“The integrity and transparency of this public institution of higher learning must be maintained,” a written statement from Campbell's office said. “To that end, the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office will seek the assistance of any agency, state or federal, to ensure that the investigation into these allegations is fair and complete.”
When reached Monday night, Campbell said he had no further comment.
Two administrators at NIU, Robert Albanese, associate vice president of the Division of Finance, Facilities and Operations, and John Gordon, Convocation Center director, left the university July 31 after reaching severance agreements that included a ban on discussing internal matters and a payout in cash and benefits worth more than $80,000 combined.
The separation agreements also revealed that both Albanese and Gordon were the subject of internal investigations for misconduct at the time they signed the agreements.
The university agreed to stop the administrative process that could have resulted in the officials being terminated for cause, records show.
Also in the Finance and Facilities Department, Physical Plant employees had been selling materials from NIU buildings to DeKalb Iron and Metal Company and depositing the proceeds into a bank account called the “coffee fund.”
The scrap metal company made payments of more than $13,000 to the coffee fund since 2005, company payment records show.
NIU police launched an investigation earlier this month when the Daily Chronicle brought the existence of a “coffee fund” to the university’s attention.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, NIU officials said they had no record of any such account.