$200 Million Pay-to-Play at College of DuPage? Who Gave What, Got What at COD – breaking Daily Herald / OpenTheBooks.com investigation
Pay – To – Play at College of DuPage?
A Collaborative Daily Herald Investigation
with OpenTheBooks.com data
17 COD Vendors Received over $200 Million in payments
– much of it from no-bid contracts – after giving
political cash backing the $168 million referendum (2010).
PAY – TO – PLAY AT COLLEGE OF DUPAGE?
By Robert Sanchez | Daily Herald
Read Front Page story, click here
July 9, 2015
‘FLOW-OF-FUNDS’ RELATIONSHIPS COLLEGE OF DUPAGE (COD)
$244 Million from COD checkbook to just 17 vendors
Download or Expand ‘Flow-of-Funds’ Graphic, click here
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Today’s front page breaking news story by Robert Sanchez at the Daily Herald exposes it all… the system was rigged to benefit insiders. It’s a great piece of investigative journalism.
Data at OpenTheBooks.com shows that roughly $1 in $3 dollars from the college checkbook flowed to just 17 vendors (2010-2014). That’s $244 million of $762 million in total checkbook spending over four years.
The rigged system at COD goes very deep. All of the institutional lines of COD were erased: college checkbook, vendors, political action committee, college executives, and COD Foundation.
Here are some highlights from the investigation:
- In 2010, College of DuPage (COD) passed a $168 million bond referendum – one of the largest in the country after spending nearly $500,000 in marketing expenses.
- COD called the bond referendum “NO-TAX-INCREASE-BOND-REFERENDUM” and then property tax rates increased by 59%.
- Two COD senior managers, Joseph Moore and James Bente, founded a political action committee (PAC) to back the referendum – Supporters of COD. PAC solicited college vendors. $65,000 was raised to support the referendum campaign.
- The COD kickoff party at Barrington Bistro spent $8,400 on a booze fueled bash for COD trustees, senior managers, and key vendors in August, 2010.
- After giving to the PAC (2010), 17 COD vendors received $244 million in COD checkbook payments (2010-2014).
- Three of those vendors (also PAC donors) also served on the COD Foundation Board and received $189 million in college checkbook payments: Mortenson Construction, Wight Construction, and Power Construction.Donations to the foundation are tax deductible. So, was this pay-to-play with a tax deduction?
- Most of the new college contracts to these vendors were no-bid and circumvented a competitive procurement process.
- COD Foundation mis-allocated tens-of-thousands of dollars (scholarship money) into the bond referendum campaign. Multiple full page ads were purchased in Suburban Life News and Daily Herald just days before the election.
- COD spent over $300,000 of student tuition and property tax dollars with Michael Walters Advertising directly on bond referendum marketing – but only half was authorized in-real-time by the Board of Trustees.Is this legal? Despite no board authorization to spend beyond $149,500, President Robert Breuder and Public Relations officer Joseph Moore signed off on the COD invoices – specifically earmarked for referendum marketing.
- According to Illinois Board of Elections data, Michael Walters Advertising also fronted approximately $40,000 in campaign expenses for the PAC and wasn’t paid back until late November, 2010 – well after the election.
Nearly $500,000 was spent by COD founded institutions to “convince” voters to pass a $168 million bond referendum. Ouch.
Most of the above transactions could be completely legal if conducted at arms-length. But the pattern is very troubling.
Forensic auditors, federal law enforcement, DuPage County State’s Attorney, and the IL Auditor General are all investigating the past administration of President Dr. Robert Breuder at COD.
We encourage all law enforcement to investigate the $244 million ‘Flow-of-Funds’ as outlined in our data and at the Daily Herald today.
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