State sues former UW-Oshkosh chancellor, business officer

The University of Wisconsin System regents have filed a lawsuit against UW-Oshkosh’s former chancellor and chief business officer over alleged improper financial transactions with the school’s foundation.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, alleges Chancellor Richard Wells and Chief Business Officer Thomas Sonnleitner illegally transferred millions of dollars from the university to its foundation between 2010 and 2014 to help the foundation participate in five real estate projects. Neither of them properly recorded those transfers in the school’s accounting records.

The lawsuit also alleges they executed illegal guarantees pledging the university would back foundation loans related to the projects. The state constitution and UW System policies don’t allow a public entity to support a private organization.

Online court records did not show attorneys for Wells and Sonnleitner.