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State

NIU probes existence of a secret 'coffee fund'

DEKALB — Northern Illinois University officials are investigating reports of an alleged secret bank account channeling thousands of dollars to university employees.

NIU employees working at a campus physical plant allegedly sold scrap metal to a local company which would write checks to an account for university employees known as the "coffee fund."

That's according to a story published in The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle.

The newspaper reports that electronic records show checks from the DeKalb Iron and Metal Company to the fund have totaled more than $13,000 since 2005. The single biggest payout in the past five years was $778 for 5,560 pounds of galvanized clips that were delivered in March.

School officials say they have no record of such a fund. NIU spokeswoman Kathryn Buettner says they'll open an investigation.

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