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June 28, 2022

Open Meetings lawsuit filed against NIU – Injunction sought to stop golden parachute of Pres. Baker –

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On June 27, 2017

DeKalb Co. (ECWd)

The recent action by the Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University raised the hackles of many lawmakers when they voted to provide a golden parachute for malfeasance identified by the Office of Executive Inspector General.

We believed their actions were in violation of the Open Meetings Act as there was nothing on the agenda pertaining to a severance package. Working with locals in DeKalb, we assisted Misty Haji-Sheikh in finding a law firm to file a lawsuit to hold this board accountable to the rule of law.

Before we get started, and having nothing to do with this lawsuit, it is our opinion the entire Board of Trustees should be removed from office. First, those remaining trustee who voted to pay defense attorney invoices of employees pleading guilty to crimes against the university, and, second, the remaining because they “approved” this severance – calling it a “transition agreement” – laying the cost on the backs of Illinois taxpayers within months of an OEIG report detailing NIU President Baker’s mismanagement of Northern Illinois University. Shameful is too nice of a word.

Plaintiff is asking for:

  • Declaration of Open Meetings Act violation, bar from taking actions to implement to severance agreement until the Court adjudicates these claims
  • Declaration the Board violated Northern Illinois University Law and a bar from taking actions to implement to severance agreement until the Court adjudicates these claims
  • Declaration that the severance agreement be null and void
  • Refrain from future Open Meetings Act violations
  • Award relief as just and necessary

According to Court records, the Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University failed to properly place the severance agreement on a meeting agenda, failed to provide appropriate public comment, failed to publish Baker’s annual performance review, and failed to use such review in considering his severance, among other things.

What was listed on the agenda was “Presidential Employment – (review and approval)” – which is something entirely different than “Presidential Transition Agreement”.

FILED Verified Complaint

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2 Comments
  • ippy
    Posted at 08:06h, 08 July

    Good luck fighting centuries of contract law, you seem to suffer from sore winners syndrome!

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 09:18h, 08 July

      This has nothing to do with “contract law” and everything to do with the Open Meetings Act and the requirement of proper posting of agenda items – which, by the way, can nullify contracts. COD’s former president thought the same thing, hasn’t gotten him very far…

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