A DeKalb County judge Friday barred Northern Illinois University from paying the remainder of ousted President Doug Baker's severance package while the court considers whether school trustees violated the law when they approved the deal.The deal by which Mr Baker stepped out of line and disappeared might not have been properly announced in the trustees' order of business.
But Baker — who left in June after the release of a state report alleging improper spending during his tenure — already has received most of his money, including a $450,000 payment to end his contract a year early and another $137,500 to resign from his tenured position at the business school.
NIU will not have to claw the money back under the ruling by Circuit Judge Bradley Waller, university officials said. Instead, while the case is still pending, the school will withhold any remaining reimbursements for legal expenses Baker incurred during his 4-year tenure.
According to the suit, the board typically holds an open session at the meetings and follows that with a closed session. But on June 15, it said, the board departed from that practice and reserved one item on the agenda for a second open session, after the closed session, which lasted more than seven hours.The announcement of Mr Baker's resignation thus was made public, but only for the curious who also had time to hang around for the seven hours of closed sessions. And as far as I know, no white smoke or black smoke was vented from Altgeld Hall before the second open session.