The governing board of the Smithsonian Institution announced that it accepted the resignation of its top official, Lawrence M. Small, after an internal audit showed that the museum had paid for his routine use of lavish perks like chauffeured cars, private jets, top-rated hotels and catered meals.
The appropriately named Mr. Small, 66, is a former executive at Citibank and the mortgage financier Fannie Mae. He had headed the 161-year-old Smithsonian since January 2000. He submitted his resignation as secretary over the weekend, and the governing board unanimously accepted it, effective immediately. So impressed were the governing board with the enormity of his malfeasance, that Mr. Small will not receive a severance package.
The announcement of Mr. Small’s resignation comes four days after Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, persuaded the Senate to freeze a $17 million increase in the Smithsonian’s financing, singling out what he called “out-of-control spending.”
Mr. Grassley was especially upset over Mr. Small’s compensation, which totaled $915,698 this year, and “hundreds of thousands” in reimbursements during his tenure for items like “chandelier cleaning and pool heaters” at Mr. Small’s home. [story].