GLEN ELLYN – The College of DuPage Board of Trustees unanimously voted against auditing the school's imprest payments Thursday.
The seven trustees voted not to spend $85,000 to have Ernst & Young LLP evaluate the payments, each of which totals less than $15,000. Under board policy, the payments are not subject to trustee review.
The payments have been a hot-button issue during public comment at previous board meetings. Attendees have alleged the college has hidden $95 million since 2009 by funneling it through them.
The school refuted those claims at last month's board meeting with a lengthy presentation from college financial officials.
That didn't dissuade additional comments on the payments from surfacing Thursday, however, with several members of the public suggesting payments included hidden spending on items such as steaks for senior administrative officials, meals at Waterleaf Restaurant and $1,000 in alcohol for a Christmas party for trustees.
College President Robert Breuder said the school had nothing to hide and was willing to go through an audit to fight the "innuendo and misrepresentation."
"You want to spend the [$]85,000? Spend it," Breuder said to the board.
Board Vice Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton said spending $85,000 on an audit would be a "waste" and the board should instead include the payments in its documents every month.
"[The public] just want transparency," said Hamilton, who hoped to be able to place a vote to include the payments on next month's agenda.
Trustee Nancy Svoboda said she didn't think the audit was necessary either, and she is confident the college is spending its money properly.
"No matter what we do, there's going to be criticism," Svoboda said. "It doesn't seem like it would be the best interest of the college to vote for this."
Trustee Dianne McGuire took time during the meeting to address the attacks on the college, which she said came from "extremist, right-wing ideologues."
McGuire said there's "absolutely nothing illegal" about the payments and that the submission of more than 50 Freedom of Information Act requests by local watchdogs that resulted in the release of imprest payment statements was counterproductive.
"These are dollars that are actually wasted," she said.