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NIU administrator to retire after FBI probe

Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 3:05 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 3:07 p.m. CDT

DeKALB – Eddie Williams' return to Northern Illinois University will last about 11 days, NIU officials said Monday.

Williams, NIU's executive vice president for finance and facilities and chief of operations, plans to retire May 31 after a 43-year career with NIU. Officials have not said if or how Williams will be replaced.

Steve Cunningham, who has been overseeing NIU's Finance and Facilities Department, will continue to do so after Williams retires, said Paul Palian, NIU director of media and public relations.

Williams took a leave of absence March 8, after an FBI investigation into police records and communication between Williams and former NIU Police Chief Donald Grady concerning Eden's Gardens, a housing development Williams owns.

For now, Williams will assist the university in finance and budgetary matters, Palian said. He said Williams has masterfully handled the university's budget and there haven't been any employee furloughs or layoffs under his watch.

"Over the last decade, we had declining support of higher education and he's adequately handled the budget throughout the time," Palian said.

Palian said that while the university is concerned that Williams' name surfaced in a federal search warrant, he did not think that would be Williams' legacy when he retires. Palian pointed to the many buildings, renovations and green spaces completed during Williams' tenure with the administration.

While NIU conducted an internal investigation of university employees connected to the "coffee fund," an unofficial account that stored proceeds from university scrap metal and other material, there was no internal investigation into Williams' interaction with the NIU police, Palian said. That was because no charges have been leveled against Williams or anyone else in the investigation, he said.

"He's been charged a lot in the media but there have been no charges either by state or federal authorities," Palian said.

Palian said as far as the university is concerned, they are thankful for his services.

"You don't have to look far on the campus to see his mark," Palian said.

EDDIE WILLIAMS

• 1970: Hired at NIU as an assistant professor of mathematics

• 1976: Becomes tenured faculty member

• 1978: Promoted to associate professor

• 1978: Appointed vice president of Finance and Planning

• 2000: Promoted to executive vice president and chief of operations of Finance and Facilities

• 2008: Provided leadership and support during the Feb. 14, 2008, shootings.

• 2013: Is named in an FBI search warrant served on the NIU Police Department on March 6. The warrant, which sought years' worth of police records as well as all communications between Williams and former Police Chief Donald Grady regarding Eden's Gardens.

• 2013: Plans to retire May 31.

• Note: This story was changed to reflect that Williams was named in an extensive federal search warrant served on the NIU Police, as well as that Wiliams plans to retire May 31, 2013.

 

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