‘Coffee fund’ charges dropped against NIU employee

By Northern Star Staff

Charges have been dropped against Keenon Darlinger, a storekeeper in Materials Management.

Darlinger had faced charges for theft, official misconduct and violation of the State Property Control Act in relation to NIU’s “Coffee Fund” case.

On Tuesday, Robert Albanese, former associate vice president of Finance and Facilities, accepted a plea deal for charges he faced in the case. He pleaded guilty to violating the State Property Conduct Act, a class B misdemeanor. Albanese was fined $825 and was sentenced to 18 months of court supervision. As part of the plea deal, felony charges of theft and misconduct were dropped.

In August, allegations surfaced that university employees had been selling NIU-owned scrap metal and depositing the profits into a “coffee fund.” One former and eight current NIU employees were charged with various felonies and misdemeanors in relation to the fund in October. Donald Grady, former chief of the NIU Police Department, requested FBI assistance with the coffee fund investigations, according to the Chicago Tribune.

As of August, the fund had about $2,100 in it.