Former CFO files summary judgment for wrongful termination case


Former CFO Nancy Suttenfield speaks about NIU’s budget proposal during a Board of Trustees Finance, Facilities and Operations Committee meeting Sept. 1, 2014, in Altgeld Hall.

By James Krause

DeKALB — NIU’s former interim Chief Financial Officer filed for a summary judgment in the latest court date of former Controller Keith Jackson’s wrongful termination lawsuit against the university Dec. 21.

Jackson filed the lawsuit in October 2015 under six different charges, including “denial of procedural and substantive due process, conspiracy, violation of the Illinois Whistleblower Act and tortious interference with employment,” according to Dec. 21 court documents.

The suit also includes the Board of Trustees, former President Doug Baker and Nancy Suttenfield, former chief financial officer.

Jackson said Baker tried to interfere with his employment, and Suttenfield made comments that were detrimental to his employment.

Suttenfield and her attorney filed a summary judgment to make her argument against Jackson’s charges and prove that Jackson “cannot demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact for trial on any of his four remaining claims,” according to court documents.

A summary judgment is a judgment that allows both parties to file summaries of their arguments for victory. Jackson and his attorney have yet to file a summary judgment of their own.

The university’s legal representation has argued to Northern District of Illinois Judge Frederick Kapala that Jackson, who was on administrative leave at the time of his notification of termination, received adequate process, and that Suttenfield “did not make any stigmatizing comments regarding Mr. Jackson” and “did not cause Mr. Jackson to lose employment opportunities,” according to the court documents.

Jackson’s last day at NIU was Feb. 26, 2016, as he was previously on administrative leave because of a pending investigation. Jackson was being investigated by the university for violating fraud policies.

Jackson was arrested in October 2012 and charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor related to a “previously unknown bank account, colloquially referred to as the “Coffee Fund”, in NIU’s Materials Management Department,” according to court documents. All charges against Jackson were dismissed April 2013, according to the court documents.

Jackson’s attorney and NIU’s states attorney have not responded to a request for comment from the Northern Star.