Another scandal over expenses

NEW YORK. Pilar O’Leary, the director of the Smithsonian Latino Center in Washington, DC, was forced to resign in early February after an internal investigation determined that she had violated 14 ethical policies. The news emerged last month after a Freedom of Information request filed by the Washington Post.

According to a report conducted by the Smithsonian Inspector General, Anne Sprightley Ryan, Ms O’Leary (shown above on a magazine cover) billed the centre for personal expenses including spa and gift shop purchases and used her position to solicit free tickets to fashion shows, concerts and the Latin Grammy Awards. Ms O’Leary also billed her employers for expensive hotels.

The Inspector General sent the information to the US attorney’s office, which chose not to prosecute. Ms O’Leary, a Colombian-born attorney, joined the Smithsonian in August 2005 to develop programming on Latino history and culture. In March 2007 Smithsonian secretary Lawrence Small resigned after an internal audit revealed a pattern of lavish spending. C.P.

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