.

Lawsuit Reveals Why Lincolnwood SD 74 Terminated Business Superintendent

Former Superintendent of Business at Lincolnwood District 74 is suing the school board for $250,000, alleging that he was wrongfully terminated. However, legal documents reveal a different side to the story. (Read lawsuit in its entirety here)

Editor's note: Skokie Patch has posted the lawsuit in its entirety above. You can scroll down using the bar to the right of the document. You can also find the "zoom in" option by clicking the magnifying glass at the bottom of the image.

New details have emerged regarding the termination of former Lincolnwood School District 74's superintendent of business Kevin Nohelty. The document also indicates why Nohelty was placed on administrative leave.

Nohelty, , alleges that he was wrongfully terminated by the school board on June 13. He is seeking $250,000 plus the cost of legal fees, according to complaint. Nohelty also alleges that his firing caused him "emotional distress," according to the suit.

The complaint specifically lists board members Scott Anderson, John Vranas, Kevin Daly and Georjean Nickell as defendants. The aforementioned voted 4-0 to terminate Nohelty.  

According to the suit, then superintendent Mark Klaisner was "under substantial public scrutiny for questionable spending practices." On March 9, the school board asked Klaisner, Nohelty and then assistant superintendent Susan Brandt for their immediate resignations, according to the suit. Ultimately, Klaisner would resign and Brandt retired. However, Nohelty declined to leave the school district.

Nohelty alleges that he was fired because he refused to resign. He also cited that he received a stellar evaluation by the school board prior to his termination (see PDF).

Nohelty was primarily in charge of the school's finances. He was widely criticized for not seeking a non-profit tax exemption for the former superintendent's 'company car,'  according to documents obtained via Freedom of Information Act.

The school board provided the following bullet points as to why they terminated Nohelty. Some of the highlights state that Nohelty intentionally hid documents from residents seeking FOIA requests on district financials. It was also noted several times that Nohelty failed to do his duties adequately, lied about information regarding financials and did not disclose information at school board meetings.

                                                                               ***

Please note, the information below was taken directly from the complaint and is not the opinion of Skokie Patch:

The School Board of Lincolnwood School District 74 hereby provides notices of the charges to be presented as just cause to remove Dr. Kevin J. Nohelty ("Respondent") from the position of Assistant Superintendent for Business for the District.

Respondent is charged with the following instances of misconduct and non-performance and the resulting damages and/or unacceptable exposure to risk of damages to the District in the Respondent:

I. Misconduct

  • During the summer of 2011, lied and/or recklessly represented to an auditor regarding his accounting responsibilities when question about the existence of inaccurate/negative balances in District accounts. The statement to the auditor was made in the presence of Irene Nowak;
  • concealed and/or recklessly failed to disclose to the District Finance Committee the District's auditors' Management Report, dated Oct. 27, 2011, outlining deficiencies in the District's internal financial controls to the District Finance Committee;
  • concealed and/or recklessly failed to disclose the Oct. 27, 2011 Management Report to the District at any School Board meeting;
  • in a Jan. 17, 2012 letter, responded to a FOIA request  to the District seeking "the most recent report on internal controls furnished by your auditor,"  by misrepresenting that the District was not in possession  of such records when it was;

II. Nonperformance of Significant Responsibilities

  • failed to facilitate implementation of the iVision system or properly address concerns by staff caused by inaccuracies within  the iVision system;
  • improperly accounted for District's legal expenditures and used levy funds to pay District's non-tort  legal fees;
  • failed to properly  account for District funds and to balance the District's books (including accounts and sub-accounts)  and financial records;
  • allowed the District to fail to make three scheduled  payments a $15m Note to the Northern Trust Co. causing a default under  that note;
  • failed to timely advise Northern Trust Co. that on or about Dec. 19, 2011, the District had abandoned the $15m Note;
  • allowed the District to fail to make a scheduled  December 1, 2011 payment on a $7m Note, causing a default under  that note;
  • provided  District residents and School Board members  with incorrect/incomplete financial information  at a Feb. 2, 2012 District School Board meeting regarding furniture expenditures and failing adequately to account for $1.4m in funds;
  • permitted  the District to pay sales tax on superintendent's car despite the applicability  of a sales tax exemption;
  • failed to provide sufficient oversight on expenditures by "rubber­stamping" inappropriate or questionable Board Member P-Card expenses;
  • misplaced/concealed/couldn't account for a check representing a state grant payments despite  numerous inquiries as to whether the check had been received;
  • failed to timely convey to the District lawyers notices concerning the alleged improper expenditure of federal grant funds,  thus exposing  the District to loss of certain appurtenant legal rights;
  • placed his personal interests ahead of the interests of the District and its constituents by taking vacation just prior to the 2012 vote on the Districts funding referendum and failed to respond  to the changing demands of the job by failing (to) work harder  when job demanded it.

III.

  • exposed  the District to violation of FOIA (5 ILCS 140/ll(j)) and to associated fines;
  • defaults on notes threaten District's superior  bond rating;
  • exasperated the community concern regarding the competence of School Board;
  • threatened student activities;
  • Exposed the District to loss of funds; and
  • exposed  the District to all negative implications of failure to maintain accounting  books and records.

 ---

See all of our coverage on Lincolnwood School District 74 

John July 27, 2012 at 02:35 PM
What a jack ass!!
JC July 27, 2012 at 05:19 PM
They were kind enough to leave out the disrespect he showed to the community by responding to a FOIA request with, "for your personal amusement."I believe it was a former board member's request, as well.
Mike Kolar July 27, 2012 at 05:44 PM
The Dr. Is not a MR REFUND.
Scott July 27, 2012 at 06:29 PM
This is what constitutes a performance review? Mine is more detailed than that every year and I am not even management.
JC July 27, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Scott, this is the "bill of particulars justifying dismissal." His previous performance review was done by a different board under very different circumstances. The newer board members and new administration are holding him accountable for the things previous people brushed off or tried to cover up.
Allie July 28, 2012 at 05:37 AM
What kind of performance review was that? It probably took him 5 minutes to scribble repetitive comments. Wow! Another testament of the effort he put into running our school district...
Ann Brunett July 28, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Maybe he can team up with Klaisner and get a new job in the same district together once he recovers from his emotional distress.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »