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SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno responds to a question during an interview on Aug. 28, 2017.

CARBONDALE — Southern Illinois University System President Randy Dunn says he was not aware that SIU Carbondale Chancellor Carlo Montemagno used university dollars to cover his daughter and son-in-law’s move until the expenses came under review.

Last week, Montemagno announced in a statement on his blog that he had reimbursed the university for moving costs associated with his second home after a “misunderstanding.”

In an emailed statement, Dunn said he didn’t know the second home was occupied by Montemagno’s daughter and her family “until what time the moving expenses came under review at the university.”

The chancellor’s employment contract allotted $61,000 for “actual costs of expenses related to moving and storage, if needed, of household, personal, and professional office possessions from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to Carbondale, Illinois.”

In January, campus newspaper The Daily Egyptian reported that Montemagno’s daughter and son-in-law, Melissa and Jeffrey Germain, were hired into positions that had been created for them as part of a verbal agreement with Montemagno during his contract negotiations in June 2017.

Montemagno owned two homes in Edmonton, according to Rae Goldsmith, chief marketing and communications officer at SIUC. One was a “furnished rental” that was rented to the Germains.

“The two homes in Alberta were consolidated into one home in Carbondale,” Goldsmith said in an email.

The total cost of moving his daughter’s household came to $16,076.45.

When moving costs for the two households exceeded $61,000, Montemagno paid the moving company $4,930.03 upfront. Goldsmith said Montemagno reimbursed the university for the remaining $11,146.42 on Feb. 9.

“The chancellor has said he understood that the language in the contract could be interpreted in multiple ways, and he wanted to remove an additional distraction that would take away from the focus on revitalizing the university,” Goldsmith said.

The $61,000 in Montemagno’s contract was intended to include the relocation of his personally owned laboratory equipment, according to Dunn. Montemagno had expressed a desire to donate the equipment to SIUC.

But Montemagno believed the relocation of the laboratory equipment would be funded separately, Goldsmith said.

“The chancellor negotiated the $61,000 based on the estimates he had received for moving the homes; his understanding was that the equipment would be considered separately,” Goldsmith said.

The relocation of the laboratory equipment is still pending.

“At some future point, the SIU Board of Trustees may take a separate vote on providing funding for moving the laboratory equipment after they review what the equipment is, its potential utilization by SIUC scientists and researchers, and the appropriate facilities to house the equipment,” Dunn said.

The hires of Montemagno's family members are currently under review by a state ethics agency.


On Twitter: @janis_eschSI



Janis Esch is a reporter covering higher education.

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