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Former UW-O Chancellor, Vice Chancellor Ordered to Pay over $70k in Fines, Restituion


Two former UW-Oshkosh officials have been ordered to pay more than $70,000 in fines and restitution after pleading guilty to felony charges of Misconduct in Office. Former Chancellor Richard Wells and Vice Chancellor Tom Sonnleitner were accused of putting millions of dollars of university money into real estate projects through the private UW-Oshkosh Foundation. The foundation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2016, and an investigation was launched into the foundation’s finances in August of that year.

Both were charged with five felony counts of Misconduct in Office, with each pleading guilty to one single count. The rest were dismissed as part of an agreement. The court on Wednesday ordered them each to pay $70,455 in restitution to the UW System. Both men were also ordered to pay an additional $5,000 fine.

U.W. Board of Regents President Andrew Petersen said in a statement that they are “gratified that DOJ and UW System’s efforts resulted in restitution and acknowledgement of misconduct in office by former UW-Oshkosh officials.”

Current UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said that Wednesday was the end of a “long difficult chapter” for UW-Oshkosh, and that “everyone is moving forward.” Leavitt thanked the “many leaders, volunteers and supporters” in the region that have helped the university’s “students, faculty, staff members and alumni set the stage for a stronger future.”

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