Posted: March 21, 2014

Chicago State University had fired its former legal counsel, James Crowley, for allegedly misusing school funds, including to pay for a trip to Hawaii to attend a conference. But Crowley charged that he was let go for reporting improprieties by the university to the attorney general, among them its demand that he withhold information under the Freedom of Information Act. The matter wound up in court after Crowley filed a whistleblower lawsuit that claimed he was fired for, basically, being a good citizen. In a recent decision, a jury in Cook County ruled in favor of Crowley, awarding him back pay of $480,000 plus $2 million in punitive damages. On top of that, the jury ordered that CSU give Crowley his old job back. In an interview after the verdict, Crowley told The Chicago Sun-Times: “I’m very grateful to be free of the false allegations made against me … and that have negatively affected my for the past four years. Hopefully, this prevents them from treating other employees as badly as they’ve treated me.”