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

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.”