Inspector General report says NIU was mismanaged by university president

DEKALB, Ill. (AP) -- A scathing report released today accuses Northern Illinois University of spending over $1 million of taxpayer money on the unethical hiring of five consultants.

The report by the Illinois Office of the Executive Inspector General says NIU President Doug Baker and three other administrators ignored ethics requirements by employing five consultants under the wrong classification.

Two of those consultants were paid more than $400,000 for less than a year and a half of work.

The report also accuses the university of wrongly spending tens of thousands of dollars to pay for the employees' travel and on-campus lodging.

As part of his response to the OEIG, President Baker says "i want to be unequivocally clear regarding my disagreement with certain factual findings against me in this report. On a specific basis, I disagree with any finding that directly or indirectly infers that, as president of Northern Illinois University, I instructed or implicitly gave general direction to university staff for the effect of disregarding legal requirements governing the hiring of certain employees or engagement of contractors."

The report says since Baker took office in 2013, the university has repeatedly mis-classified high-level, highly paid consultants as affiliate employees. It says that was done "for the purpose of circumventing the Procurement Code's requirements".