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Indicted Tyco Executive to Remain Trustee Despite charges, Dennis Kozlowski stays in College's favor

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Author: Pierce Graham-Jones

Dennis Kozlowski, a trustee of Middlebury College and former chief executive of Tyco International Ltd., remains untarnished in the eyes of the school administration. “Mr. Kozlowski hasn’t deviated from the expectations we have of our trustees,” stated Phil Benoit, director of Public Affairs, when asked what the school’s current stance was concerning the tycoon.
This may come as a surprise to those familiar with the now-infamous Kozlowski: in the past few months he has become one of the most prominent figures in the recent public downfall of some of the United State’s most high-up executives.
On June 3, a Manhattan district attorney indicted Kozlowski under charges of state sales tax evasion. Closely following these charges, reports surfaced revealing a vast misallocation of Tyco funds that in different ways personally benefited Kozlowski during his 10-year stint as CEO. Examples of gain that he received from questionable transactions range from $25 million loaned to Kowlowski by Tyco, and later forgiven by the corporation without its shareholders’ knowledge, to donations made by Tyco to charitable organizations for which Kozlowski was accredited. Overall, The Wall Street Journal estimated that he used over $135 million dollars of company funds towards illegitimate personal advantage.
As President John McCardell maintained, “Mr. Kozlowski remains a member of the Board of Trustees. He has been a very generous supporter of Middlebury College.” Assuredly, Middlebury has experienced a healthy and fruitful relationship with Kozlowski for years. Both of his daughters, Sheryl and Sandra Kozlowski, attended Middlebury, graduating in 1996 and 1999, respectively. Those interviewed were not able to comment on either when or how much Kozlowski has donated since his affiliation with the school began. He was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1999, a term which expires in 2004.
McCardell and the Board of Trustees have no inclination to take action against a board member who criminally only faces allegations thus far. A trustee has never before been asked to step down from the board.
Nonetheless, Kozlowski’s scandalous business policies necessitated his resignation as chief executive of Tyco, an episode that has shattered many stockholders’ confidence in the company. This comes at a time when the public’s trust in corporations has fallen considerably since the 1990s, partially due to the perceivably dishonest conduct of executives.
According to Benoit Kozlowski’s public downfall is not related to his role as trustee or donor, and there is no reason for the relationship between the magnate and Middlebury to change.

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The Student News Site of Middlebury College
Indicted Tyco Executive to Remain Trustee Despite charges, Dennis Kozlowski stays in College's favor