Congratulations to the Daily Chronicle for digging up this story.

Bill Kunkel, head of transportation for DeKalb Iron and Metal Company in DeKalb, said that for years he’s been writing checks to what’s called the “coffee fund,” an account NIU spokesman Paul Palian said university officials weren’t aware existed.

Kunkel said several employees, mainly from NIU’s Physical Plant, have sold scrap metal from the university to DIMCO on and off for at least the past 25 years. The company’s electronic records date back to February 2005, and checks from DIMCO since that time have totaled more than $13,000.

These aren’t proceeds from aluminum cans we’re talking about, but from scrap iron and steel — and they evidently are not going back to NIU as they should.

The DC reports that NIU officials became aware of the “coffee fund” only Friday, so even as potentially explosive as this discovery is on its own, it doesn’t explain last week’s big shake-up at Finance & Facilities and the Convocation Center.

Still, it’s a rare feat to find people willing to go on the record when what they know has the flavor of whistle-blowing. Way to go, DC!