Ex-NIU president's golden parachute hits a snag
A DeKalb County Circuit Court has granted a temporary restraining order to prevent an approximately $600,000 payout to former Northern Illinois University President Robert Baker, according to the Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW).
In his recent decision, Judge Bradley Waller said the order will remain in effect until a hearing on an Open Meetings Act (OMA) lawsuit against NIU is heard on Sept. 8.
The lawsuit alleges that the university improperly executed Baker's severance agreement by failing to provide sufficient notice to the public or placing the agreement on the meeting agenda. It also charges that the board of trustees did not allow adequate public comment, publish the president's annual review or use the review during the severance negotiation.
The severance agreement was hammered out on June 15 in a seven-hour closed session held before the board meeting. Baker tendered his resignation at the board meeting and stepped down on June 30.
The OMA lawsuit seeks to set aside the severance package due to the alleged OMA violations.
Baker resigned after the Office of the Executive Inspector General (OEIG) released a scathing report of mismanagement, improper hiring, procurement violations and other misdeeds at NIU. The OEIG report reflected a nearly three-year investigation into five complaints.
The complaints specifically named Baker, his friend Ron Walters, William Pfeiffer, Nancy Suttenfield and Ken Wilson.
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