W. Richard West Jr. Asked to Pay Back Very Small Portion of Smithsonian Expenses


After a couple of years of some pretty bad press for their management spending like it was going out of style, the Smithsonian has finally decided to stick up for itself in regard to the lavish excesses of W. Richard West Jr., the former head of their National Museum of the American Indian, which you might recall us talking about in detail earlier this year. After an audit, they’ve asked him to repay the museum for the more than $217,000 he used for transportation and luxury hotels over the course of just two years, and he’s doing just that. Except, we forgot to add, that they’ve only asked him to pay back $9,700 of it. We have no idea how that makes any sense (that $9.7k was just the worst of it?), but that’s where things stand.

West’s attorney, Michael Bromwich, said the report largely cleared West of any wrongdoing. Still, he apologized for any excesses.

“I accept the (inspector general’s) conclusion that I should have exercised better judgment,” West wrote in a statement. “I have without hesitation agreed to reimburse the funds.”

Well, yeah, of course he’ll pay it back right away! Who could pass up on a punishment like that? Note: UnBeige has $1000 to spend on punishment for anyone who will give us $50,000. Please e-mail us immediately with an offer. And if it isn’t too much trouble, we’d also like this tacked on:

The audit confirmed the museum, with some help from donors, spent $48,500 for a portrait of West and more than $30,000 for an eight-minute video extolling his leadership.