NIU Coffee Fund Charges Against Susan Zahm Dismissed

SYCAMORE (WIFR) -- DeKalb County State’s Attorney Richard Schmack announced today that all charges against Susan Zahm in connection to the ‘NIU Coffee Fund’ case have been dismissed. The case relates to the deposit of the proceeds from metal recycling at the University into a departmental account controlled by the Materials Management Department at the University, rather than the funds being paid over to the State of Illinois.

While there is no evidence that the fund was ever used for anyone’s personal enrichment, all profits from recycling at all state agencies are to be directed to the state Department of Central Management Services in accordance with the provisions of the State Property Control Act and the administrative rules of that Department. NIU has reimbursed the Department for the diverted funds. Zahm worked under the supervision and direction of, and reported to, the NIU officials who had actual operational control over recycling at the University and ultimate control over the account in question. Among the functions those supervisors had assigned to her were record-keeping tasks in connection with this account. While her actions certainly contributed to the diversion of funds from Central Management Services, she would have performed the same, or similar, work activities had her supervisors been directing the funds to the proper place.

Her case is similar to that of her co-worker Keenon Darlinger, against whom all charges were dismissed last week. After full analysis of the facts, it is the opinion of the State’s Attorney that, like Darlinger, Zahm acted within the scope of duties that had been assigned to her, with no criminal aim or purpose, and the ends of justice would not be served by her continued prosecution. The Department of Central Management Services, as the aggrieved party in the diversion of the funds, was consulted, through its General Counsel, prior to dismissal of these charges, and concurred in this result.

Charges against the five remaining defendants are still active, and, consistent with established policy, the Office of the DeKalb County State’s Attorney will not provide further comment pending the resolution of those cases.

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