Smithsonian Hit by News of $12.3 Million Worth of Property Stolen by Employees


Smithsonian head G. Wayne Clough must be really disappointed. After the museum’s rotten, seemingly never-ending financial scandals in 2007, and the occasional residual reminders about that lousy year in 2008, this year had turned out pretty money-related scandal free. Sure, it wasn’t all tops, with hiring freezes, raise and bonus cutoffs, and leaked emails about layoffs. But those seemed to fade into the background with all the goodness, from the selection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture architects to their fun tour video with Ben Stiller. So here we are, just days away from making it safely through 2009, and then it comes out that $12.3 million in museum property has been stolen or has gone missing since 2005, according to the Washington Post, and most all of it in internal employee theft. These unfortunately beans were spilled to a congressional committee late last week by the museum’s inspector general, who said the blame rests largely on its management, who didn’t have much of a system in place to keep track of museum property or just didn’t want to do it (we think some blame might also be good to place on the people who actually took the $12.3 million worth of stuff). There were also some revelations about misappropriated maintenance funds and asbestos and…well, you know, Clough, maybe 2010’s your year.