NIU Investigation
6:46 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

First Court Appearances In NIU Coffee Fund Probe

Friday was the first court appearance for six of the Northern Illinois University employees accused of theft in a case known as “the coffee fund.”

Eight NIU employees and a former associate Vice president have been charged with selling scrap metal from the university and not returning the proceeds to the school. The money was deposited into an off-the-books bank account known as The Coffee Fund. Much of it was said to have been used for office cookouts and parties.

It took Judge William Brady about half an hour to get through the court appearances for six of the nine. They were read the charges against them: felony theft, and for some, official misconduct and violation of the state property control act. Charges carry penalties as high as 3 to 7 years in prison and fines up to 25-thousand dollars.

Charges and Next Court Appearances

Robert Albanese: Class 2 Felony Theft; Class 3 Felony Theft; Class 3 Felony Official Misconduct. Next court appearance December 19.

Keenon Darlinger: Class 2 Felony Theft; Class 3 Felony Theft; Class 3 Felony Official Misconduct. Next court appearance December 19.

Lawrence Murray: Class 2 Felony Theft (two counts); Class 3 Felony Theft; Class 3 Felony Official Misconduct; Class B Misdemeanor, violation of State Property Control Act; Class 4 Felony Theft (two counts. Next court appearance December 18.

Keith Jackson: Class 3 Felony Official Misconduct; Class 4 Felony Obstructing; Class B Misdemeanor, violation of State Property Control Act. Next court appearance December 17.

Kenneth Pugh: Class 2 Felony Theft; Class 3 Felony Theft; Class 3 Felony Official Misconduct; Class B Misdemeanor, violation of State Property Control Act. Next court appearance December 18.

Susan Zahm: Class 2 Felony Theft; Class 3 Felony Theft; Class 3 Felony Official Misconduct; Class B Misdemeanor, violation of State Property Control Act. Next court appearance December 18.

Joseph Alberti and Michael Hall will have their first court appearances November 2. Mark Beaird is scheduled for his first court date November 9.