The embattled president of St. John's University is announcing his retirement today, and his chief of staff has already resigned in the face of an ongoing probe of lavish gifts they received from a corrupt dean at the Queens college who killed herself during a federal fraud trial, among other issues.
Father Donald Harrington, a Vincentian priest, who spent 24 years at the school, emailed his resignation as president to the St. John's community this afternoon. It is effective July 31.
The Post also has a copy of Harrington's retirement letter.
The university declined a request for an interview of a university official about the internal investigation into Harrington and his longtime chief of staff, Rob Wile.
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The university's spokesman, Dominic Scianna, said, "The internal review is still ongoing and we have nothing to report at this time."
Scianna did share with NCR the following documents related to Harrington's retirement announcement:
- The president's note to the St. John's University board of trustees
- The president's note to the university community
- A message from the St. John's University board of trustees
- A statement from Fr. Michael J. Carroll, CM, provincial superior, Eastern Province
- A statement from Cardinal Timothy Dolan
Scianna also shared a statement from Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly:
"Over the last quarter of a century, Farther Harrington transformed St. John's from a really good university to a great one. As an alumnus of its law school, I've witnessed with pride as Father Harrington strengthened St. John's academically and physically with new facilities and buildings, while holding fast to the Vincentian mission that has drawn so many of the University's alumni to public service. Think of what's essential to New York, and Father Harrington and St. John's always come to mind." -- Raymond W. Kelly, NYPD police commissioner
It's unclear whether or not Harrington's resignation will impact the internal investigation. It is expected that at a minimum, a summary of the investigation findings will be made public.