COD looking for who leaked recording of buyout meeting

  • Attorney Daniel Kinsella on Thursday informs the College of DuPage board of the audio leak to the news media and the implications it could have if the person who leaked it is caught.

      Attorney Daniel Kinsella on Thursday informs the College of DuPage board of the audio leak to the news media and the implications it could have if the person who leaked it is caught. Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • College of DuPage board Chairwoman Katharine Hamilton called the unauthorized release of the audio recording "a criminal matter."

      College of DuPage board Chairwoman Katharine Hamilton called the unauthorized release of the audio recording "a criminal matter." Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

 
 

The College of DuPage has launched an internal investigation to find out who leaked the recording of a closed-door meeting where school President Robert Breuder's nearly $763,000 buyout was discussed.

COD attorney Daniel Kinsella said during Thursday night's board meeting that someone broke the law by sending the audio recording of the Dec. 18 strategy session to both the Daily Herald and Chicago Tribune.

In the recording, all seven trustees are heard talking about a plan to buy out the remainder of Breuder's contract for $762,867 as long as he agreed to retire in March 2016.

Kinsella said that sensitive personnel material and material protected by attorney-client privilege were discussed during the 70-minute recording.

"It is now out in the public for anyone to listen to," he said. "This is a sensitive matter. This is a serious, serious violation."

Kinsella said it's possible that recordings of other closed sessions have been leaked. Therefore, he said, the college is doing the investigation to find out how and under what circumstances the December recording was leaked. Any evidence collected during the probe will be turned over to the authorities, Kinsella said.

"My advice to the college would be prosecute any violation of this law that we discover to the fullest extent possible so that there are no further breaches of this confidentiality," he said. "The board and the attorneys and members of staff appear in closed session ... under a veil of confidentiality that is protected by law. And that is something that should be and has to be protected by this college."

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Kinsella said whoever leaked the recording could be charged with a misdemeanor that carries a potential sentence of 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.

"If the individual is an employee of this institution, that individual will be terminated for cause," Kinsella said.

The $762,867 buyout package talked about in the recording was approved in January. The deal sparked a firestorm of criticism and scrutiny. It eventually led to the ouster of incumbent board members who ran for re-election and the election of a slate that would make Trustee Kathy Hamilton board chairwoman.

On Thursday, Hamilton said the release of the recording appears to have been "political in nature." As a result, she said, the college and the board potentially "incurred some liability."

"In the case of the audio tape," Hamilton said, "the release is a criminal matter."

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