Old accusations surface

By Mark McGowan

One of the NIU employees named in a million dollar lawsuit brought against the school was accused of similar wrongdoing while at Moraine Valley Community College.

Mary Rose Hennessy, a trainer with NIU’s Business and Industry Services project in Hinsdale, worked as director of Moraine Valley’s Employment Training Center before leaving there in 1987. A few months later, she was elected to the college’s Board of Trustees, a position she still holds.

Anne Kaplan, executive assistant to the president, said NIU is not worried about the old accusations from Moraine Valley.

NIU is being sued by Management Institute of Illinois, a Westchester firm that claims the Business and Industry Services project is modeled “identically” to MAI and documents and clients were taken. All six B&IS staff are former MAI employees.

Hennessy and fellow defendants John Conrath, David Murray and Sharon Young all worked at Moraine Valley before leaving for MAI. Also named in the suit are Daniel Hochstetter and Sandra Pater.

Court proceedings will begin in Chicago at 3 p.m. today when Cook County Circuit Court Judge Lester Foreman will hear a motion by NIU to dismiss the charges.

MAI filed suit against NIU Feb. 4 after lengthy talks between the two parties broke down Jan. 31. NIU and the six former MAI staff were brought together by IBHE member and Aurora businessman Bob English last summer.

English was the chairman of a workforce preparation committee that also included Hennessy. “She served very capably,” English said.

English also said he introduced Hennessy to officials at Illinois Benedictine College. “I thought they could have formed a similar group,” he said.

However, English denies that his association with Gene Hoffman, NIU’s lobbyist in Springfield and a former shareholder in one of English’s companies, had anything to do with bringing Hennessy and NIU together.

MAI President Charles Blanchard refused comment.