Federal authorities launch investigation of COD

A criminal investigation of College of DuPage has been launched by federal authorities, who have issued subpoenas requesting a wide array of documents from the Glen Ellyn-based school.

Copies of the federal grand jury subpoenas were released late Wednesday in response to a Daily Herald Freedom of Information Act request. The federal investigation comes on the heels of the DuPage County state's attorney's office doing its own probe into spending at COD.

The college has been under intense scrutiny since last summer, when school President Robert Breuder lost a $20 million state grant after one of his candid emails - intimating that the school create a reason it needed the money - was made public.

The controversy intensified in January when school trustees approved a $762,868 buyout package for Breuder, who is scheduled to retire next March.

Meanwhile, government watchdog groups have raised questions about the school's finances and an apparent lack of oversight by the college's trustees.

A subpoena issued Monday to COD is seeking all documents pertaining to open or closed bank accounts, credit card accounts and debit card accounts "used in connection with charges incurred by or payments made to" Breuder, college trustees, senior management personnel, COD Foundation members, "and/or entities in which COD Foundation members are professionally associated." The foundation is the college's fundraising arm.

Federal investigators also are requesting from the college:

• All personnel records for Breuder, trustees and all senior management.

• All records relating to services provided by, contracts with, or bids involving COD Foundation members and/or entities in which COD Foundation members are professionally associated.

• Emails sent or received by Breuder, trustees and all senior management.

• Records reflecting payments made to Breuder and the others, COD Foundation members, "and/or entities in which COD Foundation members are professionally associated."

• Meeting minutes and recordings involving the Breuder, trustees and senior management.

• Calenders of Breuder and the others.

A second subpoena was issued to the college's Suburban Law Enforcement Academy seeking Basic Law Enforcement Academy records and Continuing Education Academy records, including class rosters, instructor grade certifications and "official COD academic and grade transcripts for recruits."

The subpoena also requests all emails sent and received by six former and current administrators.

The COD Foundation, which raises money to increase educational and cultural opportunities for the school, has faced criticism because millions of dollars in contracts have been awarded to companies that have representatives on the foundation.

This week, COD officials said no foundation board members have been given preferential treatment when it comes to awarding contracts. They said foundation board members who work for COD vendors didn't start in their volunteer roles until after their companies were doing business with the college.

In response to the federal subpoenas, COD and the COD Foundation officials issued a joint statement on Wednesday night that read: "The College of DuPage and the College of DuPage Foundation are confident in the proper conduct of their affairs and will fully cooperate with any government investigation."

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