Former president of Brookdale Community College (Middletown, NJ) Peter Burnham has the dubious distinction of being the subject of CMM! three times. Twice for his crimes, and today for his long-awaited conviction on various counts of misconduct and theft. He’ll be sentenced in September, when, if the Monmouth County DA has any say in the matter, Plundering Pete will be sent up the river for five years and be ordered to repay some $44,000 in funds he stole from taxpayers. Unlike the beat-the-rap team of Sainfort and Jacko, Burgling Burnham will serve at least two years’ time in prison, according to nj.com. You can read the DA’s full statement here.
It’s about time. Burnham used the privileges of his office to wine and dine, travel lavishly to personal destinations, buy himself rounds of golf and suitable leisure attire to make sure he was the best-dressed thief on the links. While the students who attended classes at Brookdale were working two jobs to pay their tuition bills, Burnham was living large on funds that could have been used for…scholarships, a book fund for needy students, an award for outstanding staff and faculty. But, no, none of these causes were as worthy as Burnham’s need to travel first classes and buy another drink for his country club friends. In fairness to Burnham, a community college president–a man of such august stature–must maintain certain appearances to fulfill his role as an educational and community leader.
Burning through some $24,000 from the college’s meager coffers, Burnham wouldn’t have time, you’d think, to stick his hand in the federal cookie jar. You’d be wrong. He gleefully augmented his personal checking account with $20,000 in financial aid funds awarded to his own son.
And my academic friends cannot understand why the reputation of their profession is taking such a beating.