Former Baltimore International president misused more than $200,000 in funds, court filing alleges

The former president of Baltimore International College allegedly misused more than $200,000 for personal meals, antiques and unapproved salary, according to a legal filing submitted Tuesday by the remaining board of the defunct culinary school.

Roger Chylinski, who founded the college and served as its president from 1980 to 2010, sued Baltimore International for $5 million last year, saying that he was not receiving a monthly retirement benefit of $17,000 promised by his contract.

After settlement talks broke down, the college filed its response Tuesday in Baltimore Circuit Court, alleging that Chylinski's mismanagement led directly to Baltimore International's loss of accreditation at the end of last year. The college also filed a counterclaim, requesting $5 million in damages from Chylinski.

The legal filing says that before Chylinski's removal as president in April 2010, he did nothing to address the college's deepening troubles with its accreditation agency, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

It alleges that Chylinski failed to pursue $1.5 million in unpaid student loans distributed by the college and that Chylinski used college funds to supplement his contracted annual salary of $253,000.

The filing says Chylinski claimed a 1986 doctorate from LaSalle University but alleges that he actually obtained his Ph.D. from a "diploma mill" in Missouri. A spokesman for LaSalle, located in Philadelphia, said the university did not offer doctorates in 1986.

Chylinski's attorney, Kathleen Cahill, said she had no comment because Baltimore International had not sent her a copy of the filing.

Charles Nabit, chairman of Baltimore International's board, said no one investigated Chylinski's practices until the threat of lost accreditation became severe in 2010. "There was no real board oversight," he said.

By the time the board forced Chylinski out, Nabit said, it was too late for Baltimore International to fix the fundamental problems with financial planning, faculty development and educational accountability cited by Middle States inspectors. The college lost its accreditation and ceased educating students at the end of last year.

Virginia-based Stratford University, which absorbed many of Baltimore International's instructors and students and is operating in its downtown facilities, is not a party to the legal battle with Chylinski.

Nabit said the board, which still manages Baltimore International's properties and debt, had been close to settling its legal dispute with Chylinski. But he said the sides could not agree on the collateral the college would offer to back settlement payments to Chylinski.

He said he did not know if a settlement would be possible now, equating Tuesday's court filing to "hitting the hornet's nest with a stick."

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