According to an internal correspondence sent to me confidentially, Reverend Finney, the head of the board of trustees, was putting pressure on several members of the Human Resources department at Chicago State University starting in the spring of this year .By the end of May, the Director of HR was summarily dismissed and that position remains unfilled today at that public school. Meanwhile, because the Director of HR was dismissed without cause, he is still earning a severance from CSU. Since CSU is a public school, that means this severance is paid for by the tax payers.
Reverend Finney, in violation of the charter, was involving himself in the day to day activities of the university and demanding final approval on all firing and hiring. The board of trustees of CSU is supposed to oversee the management and upper level administration of the school. They aren't supposed to make day to day decisions. They are in fact appointed by the Governor. Finney was appointed by Rod Blagojevich. If they are allowed to make day to day decisions, the university becomes politicized.
To put all of this into context, we must take this story back even longer. Dr. Elnora Daniel, then President of CSU, was forced to step down in the spring of 2008 following a scandal in which she used a school credit card for personal purposes. Following that scandal, the school looked outward to bring in new leadership and reverse years of incompetence and corruption. The school was able to bring in Dr. Frank Pogue from semi retirement to lead the school on an interim basis. Dr. Pogue was most recently the head of Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. Dr. Pogue agreed to take over under the understanding that his term would only last one year.
Dr. Pogue came in and immediately looked to bring in new blood with him. This included Howard Johnson to be VP of Student Affairs, Dean Justmann, Interim Vice President, Dr. Patricia Arnold Director of University Relations, and eventually Seth Hosick was recruited from the University of Illinois to be Director of HR.
None of this sat well with the powers that be at the CSU. That's because CSU is run by friends and lackeys of Emil Jones, former President of the Illinois Senate (and the current president's "political godfather") For years, CSU was an outlet where cronies of the former Illinois Senate President wound up with cushy positions. That faction was and is lead by the aforementioned Dr. Finney. This faction included Erma Brooks Williams Associate to the President for Communications and External Relations and Louise Williams Assistant Director of Accounting.
So, starting this past spring, Finney began demanding that all firing and hiring decisions be approved by him. He then orchestrated the firing of several top level administrators including most of the folks that Dr. Pogue had brought in to turn around school. On top of this, three of the Board's trustees had their terms expired and their positions have been left vacant awaiting a Governor's appointment.This has given Finney even more power since the board is now controlled nearly entirely by the Jones faction. As for the hiring and firing, most of this he did this under the guise of a letter that he claimed that Dr. Pogue signed. Dr. Pogue denied ever signing it or giving Finney any authority. Most of the positions remain unfilled today and most of those fired receive a severence since they were fired without cause. All of it was done to center power back into control of those tied to Emil Jones.
Since the board of trustees was technically not allowed to make hiring and firing decisions, instead Finney et al put pressure on Dr. Saudra Westbrooks, the Provost. At the same time, a paper trail was left with a series of emails in which Dr. Westbrooks was pressured to make firing decisions.
In the spring of 2008, CSU began a "national search" for a full time replacement to become President. (remember Dr. Pogue agreed to only stay on for a year) This national search would be conducted by the Hollins Group and $75000 was authorized to spend on this search by the board of trustees. In reality, this was all a power play to bring in another friend of Emil Jones into the CSU faculty. That's exactly what happened when Wayne Watson was named to be President. Watson is tied to Mayor Daley however he was involved in a series of scandals while President of the City Colleges of Chicago. He's also an ally of Emil Jones. By bringing in Watson, the Jones faction had asserted control back over the university.
Meanwhile, the Governor is "strangely" silent regarding all this. After all, the board of trustees are all appointed by the Governor. Pat Quinn could remove Finney immediately. It's only strange though if your understanding of politics is rudimentary. Most of those in a position of power at CSU are African American. Quinn is white. If he were to take on or even fire Finney, the race card would be played. That's how it works. Quinn would lose the support of most of the state's African American vote. Frankly, the corruption at CSU is simply not worth Quinn's political career, and so he has looked the other way while all thsi goes on.
The law, however, may be catching up to the corruption. I have confirmed that multiple governmental agencies are now investigating the corruption that is going on at CSU. Among the potential crimes is the hiring scandal that I have described. There are also allegations of misappropriations of funds. There are charges that grants meant to fund educational activities were diverted to political campaigning that benefit ted Jones and allies.
Please check out my new books, "Bullied to Death: Chris Mackney's Kafkaesque Divorce and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and the World's Last Custody Trial"