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College of DuPage Board approves $4 million payment to former president to drop lawsuit

College of DuPage Board considers $4 million payment to former president to drop lawsuit
College of DuPage Board considers $4 million payment to former president to drop lawsuit 01:46

CHICAGO (CBS) – The College of DuPage Board of Trustees voted Thursday night in favor of a $4 million settlement with its former president in exchange for him dropping a lawsuit against the school.

College of DuPage Board approves $4 million settlement with former president 00:49

The payment, made through the college's insurance provider, will go to Robert Breuder, who served as president of COD from 2009 until he was fired in 2015. The board voted to approve the payment at its meeting Thursday night at its main campus in Glen Ellyn.

The COD Board voted in 2015 to fire Breuder, who was under fire at the time for extravagant spending at the taxpayer's expense and possible mismanagement during his tenure.

Breuder sued the college and members of its board for a breach of contract, defamation and civil conspiracy, according to court documents. Some of the defendants filed a countersuit against Breuder in 2018.

With the board having approved the deal, both parties are to agree to drop their respective lawsuits against each other in U.S. District Court.

In 2014, Breuder received a no-confidence vote from faculty members. Among the reasons for the vote, a claim by faculty that Breuder diverted money meant for academic endeavors to other projects.  

The $4 million settlement amount is much larger than the $763,000 severance package Breuder was originally slated to receive but was denied after he was fired and public outcry. One state lawmaker in 2015 threatened to slash state funding for COD if the board agreed to pay Breuder the severance.

A day after he was let go, Breuder filed his lawsuit. He claimed he was wrongfully terminated and the trustees worked to tarnish his reputation.

So far, $9 million has been spent in litigation.

College of DuPage released this statement Thursday night:

"As fiduciaries for College of DuPage, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to approve mutual releases accompanying a settlement agreement between the Illinois Community College Risk Management Consortium (ICCRMC) and Robert Breuder, thus resolving all claims between Breuder and the College of DuPage. The Board's vote brings closure to a case that began more than seven years ago, before any current trustee was a member of the board, and resolves all claims at no direct cost to the institution beyond the initial deductible incurred by the College, as all other legal costs were paid by ICCRMC.

"The Board believes that its fiduciary responsibility to the College and community is best served by supporting the settlement agreement between ICCRMC and Breuder and putting the lawsuit behind the institution. The College looks forward to continuing to provide high-quality affordable education and a wide range of services to students and the community of District 502."

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