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College of DuPage employed radio engineer despite theft conviction

The College of DuPage continued to employ the engineer at its campus radio station — and continued to pay bills submitted by his private company — for nearly two years after he was convicted of a felony for using that same business to steal from another local college.

The situation raises questions about financial oversight at the taxpayer-funded community college, where the ethics code bars employees from participating in business transactions from which they personally profit, and about whether school officials heeded warnings about engineer John Valenta’s business dealings after his March 2011 arrest.

College spokesman Joseph Moore said officials “uncovered a possible case of fraud” by a WDCB-FM 90.9 employee in December 2013 and reported it to law enforcement officials. Moore said no one at the college acknowledged knowing of Valenta’s arrest or conviction for theft at nearby Elmhurst College. However, Elmhurst’s security director told the Tribune that his department notified a College of DuPage police detective after Valenta’s arrest.

“We felt it was our responsibility to inform them,” said Jeff Kedrowski, Elmhurst College’s executive director of security and emergency management. “When we provided the information, our expectation was that someone would look into it.”

College of DuPage employed radio engineer despite theft conviction