Saturday, April 18, 2009

Chairman of the BOT corruption? What a surprise.

Received from hyperspace, written by Laraine Wright. I think we all know in our gut that SIU's BOT positions are purchased for campaign contributions (or political support in the case of Glen Poshard). Difficult to prove without a wiretap, but here is a pretty compelling example of how BOT members have their fingers in the SIU pie.

If there is any justice, Tedrick with step down today. I'm not holding my breath.

Question - how can you give SIU money, if this is what you are supporting?

Roger Tedrick, chairman of the SIU Board of Trustees, has in at least 34 cases violated the SIU Management Act (110 ILCS 520/4) that states, " ... nor shall any member of the Board be directly or indirectly interested in any contract made by the Board ... "

Through documents I recently obtained through a Freedom of Information request, I discovered that Tedrick Insurance in Mt. Vernon sold expensive liability insurance to construction firms and service providers doing business with SIU through contracts that Tedrick voted to approve as a member of the board. The firms include many who recently were approved as contractors and sub-contractors for Saluki Way , such as Holland Construction Services of Swansea, which last year the board tacked onto Saluki Way as a "partner" of the original contractor, JE Dunn of Kansas. Holland Construction Services built Rent One Park in Marion for John Simmons, another Blagojevich appointee on the SIU Board of Trustees.

Tedrick was appointed to the Board in February 2004, two months after he made a $5,000 donation to Blagojevich. Eight days after Tedrick was "elected" chairman of the board on June 20, 2005, he made another $5,000 donation to Blagojevich. In total, Tedrick gave Blagojevich $26,000.

You may recall that Chairman Tedrick immediately and vigorously defended Glenn Poshard when the examples of plagiarism in his Ph.D. were revealed. No sitting back to wait while an investigation could be done, just immediate public defense. You may also recall that Tedrick was supposedly the one who asked SIU Legal Counsel Jerry Blakemore to conduct a "thorough review," an "internal audit" of the Board following Blagojevich's arrest December 9. "Are any of us corrupt?" Heck, no, said Jerry Blakemore to "The Southern" in mid-January, which also said, "SIU President Glenn Poshard ... praised Tedrick for moving quickly to investigate any improprieties and stood by the finds of Blakemore's investigation."

On March 10, I spent more than two hours at the Southern Illinoisan offices talking to reporters Caleb Hale and Adam Testa. They had the same documents that I later obtained through my own FOIA, and many more regarding other corruption allegations. They had already conducted other interviews about this information and they assured me they would be running an article about Tedrick. But nothing has happened. I don't fault Hale or Testa. The problem lies above their heads at "The Southern."

Instead, there have been two articles about how Jerry Blakemore has now written a new policy for the board, which it may approve at its May 7 meeting in Carbondale, that calls for board members to "recuse" themselves from voting on contracts that might be a conflict of interest. Even ahead of adopting this laughable policy, Tedrick apparently recused himself from voting at the April 2 board meeting.

Tedrick may continue to recuse himself for the next 50 years, but he STILL is in violation of the SIU Management Act merely by SERVING on the board WHILE SELLING INSURANCE to university contractors. He has known this all along and so, I submit, have Glenn Poshard, staff members in the SIU President's Office and Budget Office, and possibly other members of the SIU Board of Trustees. Also, every year the board members and all state employees must fill out a Statement of Economic Interests that discloses any business ties one may have that conflict with one's role as a board member or state employee. These statements are collected by SIU Ethics Officer Corey Bradford and forwarded to the Secretary of State's Office in Springfield. Hmmm.

I am again asking the SIUC community, internal and external, to share this information with others; to write to Gov. Quinn demanding that he remove the three people who were appointed to the Board after making large donations to Blagojevich (Tedrick, John Simmons, and the now-bodyguarded Bill Bonan II); and to once again discuss together and question where Glenn Poshard is taking SIU. I am on the speaker's list for May 7. If you want to make your own speech, please call Misty Whittington at 536-3344.

Finally, you may have seen an article in the April 14 or 15 "Southern" titled, "Quinn looks to restock boards, commissions." It was written by Kurt Erickson, Springfield Bureau reporter for Lee Enterprises, owner of the "Southern." Erickson says, "Joliet oilman Jay Bergman ... contributed $53,000 to Blagojevich's campaign fund between 2002 and 2008. He now serves as a member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois State University Board of Trustees." Another example of the same Blagojevich pattern. Big donations equaled appointments to public boards. How interesting that Erickson was free to write about an Illinois State board member but reporters at "The Southern" apparently can't do the same regarding Southern Illinois University.

Laraine Wright


Anonymous said...

I just think you would be more effective if you weren't so emotional! Heh.

PeterG said...

I don't really care about being effective.

You have to wonder how the good people of Illinois can think this is normal. I guess, if you are a petty civil servant, you are tied to the system. If they started to clean things up, maybe your job would go too?

So sad. What would make you get upset about this?

Anonymous said...

So Ms. Wright finally found someone who would listen to her, huh Peter. Ms. Wright is quickly becoming another Joan Friedenburg....a darling of the SIU haters and a source of amusement to many. Can't wait to hear her speak on May 7.

PeterG said...

I guess you can argue that the SIU BOT is serving to better mankind (at one end of the spectrum) or to make money for themselves (at the other). It is clearly true that giving money to the gov. is required for appointment. So, you have to give money to "serve", but you don't get money back from serving? The rules are that you can't have money funneled back legally or morally.

I'm fairly sure that Joan Friedenburg had a legitimate beef. I know that life isn't fair and it is better to just move on than change a corrupt institution, but that doesn't mean there isn't unethical injustices happening. Once SIU educated Dr. Friedenburg to the level of corruption at the institution, it surely isn't difficult to find more. Clearly, her biggest problem was being right and vocal, and not just getting a new job right away. I hear she is happier now.

News flash, bribes work, people are done wrong and people are starving to death in Africa. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it isn't happening.

I had forgotten this blog game. It is like finding a forgotten scent.

Anonymous said...

SIU conflict-of-interest: Board set to vote on tightening policy after trustee backed contracts that benefited his insurance agency
Trustee businessman Roger Tedrick is criticized for record
By Jodi S. Cohen and Robert Becker | Tribune reporters
April 26, 2009,0,1194939.story

Anonymous said...

OK, the real problem here Mr. Ad Hominem attacker (not addressed to Peter but to the other commenter who addressed the Friedenberg thing) is that SIU, like General Motors, has such an insular management and union culture that no one is willing to confront the facts the organization faces. Those who do get attacked.

Something dramatically bad would have to happen for someone like Friedenberg to lash out like that, don't you think? That sort of thing doesn't happen in a vacuum. Apply Occam's Razor (the simplest explanation is usually the correct one) if you will. Lorraine Wright could have been wronged in a similar matter.

I don't have to insult you to make my point. The truth is the truth, and if the management of SIU listened to the customers (in this case, the students) you would realize that drastic changes have to be made. In this case, it's not hard for the school to return to its core values (affordability, practical education, good technical programs) if you can just overcome the culture.

It's easy to launch insults, quite another to try to fix problems. Mr. Ad Hominem, whoever you are, I challenge you to try to fix problems and see how you're treated. See how things are when you actually try to fix problems.