The “Coffee Fund” and NIU’s Curious Behavior


Thank you, Daily Chronicle, for revealing that there indeed is more to the Northern Illinois University Finance & Facilities/Convo shakeup than just a couple of dudes simultaneously deciding they were ready to move on.

DeKALB – Separation agreements for two former Northern Illinois University administrators show they were paid tens of thousands of dollars and were under investigation for misconduct when they quit.

Robert Albanese, former associate vice president of the Division of Finance, Facilities and Operations, and John Gordon, former director of the Convocation Center, submitted signed letters of resignation July 19 and July 20, respectively. The two were on paid leave status from the time they submitted the letters until July 31.

In the agreements, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the university agrees to stop the administrative process of “prospective dismissal from service for cause” against both men “for reasons directly associated with serious and substantial allegations of misconduct.”

As usual the news raises more questions than it answers, such as why NIU would finalize separation/nondisclosure agreements before determining the validity of the allegations of misconduct — you know, to prevent inadvertent rewarding of bad behavior — and whether NIU spokespersons (who initially claimed that the two resignations were personal and unrelated) should feel ill-used if nobody ever believes another word they say.

Then there’s this:

In response to a FOIA request, university officials said they had no documents from the NIU Department of Police and Public Safety that showed Gordon or Albanese were involved in any reports in 2012.

Does this mean for sure that the “coffee fund,” which according to the Chronicle IS being investigated, is a separate matter from the allegations against Albanese and Gordon? And is anybody investigating the possible “serious and substantial” misconduct or not?