NIU, Former Consultant Resolve Audit, Travel Reimbursement Issues

Jan 5, 2016

A Northern Illinois University audit issue regarding travel reimbursement for a consultant has been resolved.

Altgeld Hall at Northern Illinois University
Credit Susan Stephens

NIU improperly reimbursed Ron Walters – a former consultant – for traveling from the school to his home state, Washington. That’s according to a state audit report last March which also said travel expenses between work and home cannot be reimbursed.

The report also recommended that NIU get the money back from Walters. NIU officials said they were considering legal action when Walters didn’t repay the money months after those recommendations were made.

Al Phillips, the vice president of finance at NIU, says the school and Walters reached an agreement which required Walters to pay almost $18,000. That’s more than half of the $34,265 Walters owed the school, Phillips said.

Phillips says Walters argued that NIU still owed him money.

“Had we gone to the point of initiating a lawsuit, the cost of – in terms of time and resources and man hours – would have very quickly exceeded any amount that we would’ve received back from Mr. Walters,” Phillips said.

Phillips says administrative policies have been reviewed to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.

“This is one of the issues that we very clearly check since this incident took place whenever we bring someone in to work at the institution,” Phillips said.

Editor's Note: Previous stories say Walters owed about $32,000. Phillips says that number was an estimate and $34,265 is the more accurate amount owed by Walters.