Times-Union Reporter Reveals Major Crimp in Penn State Plans

The online version of Albany Times-Union political reporter James M. Odato’s (pictured) big scoop went up Tuesday night. There was no comment from SUNY beforehand, but a half-hour after the item was posted, the school turned around and provided Odato with a statement.

According to Odato’s report, Penn State trustees were all set last Friday to announce as their 18th president David R. Smith, the current president of SUNY Upstate Medical University. Instead, Smith has been put on paid leave Tuesday as SUNY continues to investigate some alleged additional, sideline compensation:

Smith, a pediatrician, became president of Upstate Medical in 2006 after five years as chancellor of Texas Tech University. SUNY pays him $625,000, including $315,000 in salary plus a $60,000 housing stipend approved by the SUNY trustees, plus $250,000 from the SUNY Research Foundation. Smith is a member of the Research Foundation’s board of directors…

Smith’s outside money has been coming from two companies during recent years that are linked to SUNY Upstate: Medbest Medical Management Inc. and Pediatrics Service Group LLP.

Officials with the companies did not respond to emails and calls on Tuesday. Smith’s unapproved arrangements added substantially to his pay, according to a November 1 letter to Smith from SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. In the letter, she alerts Smith to a recent review of his income and says he accepted $349,295 from the outside sources without Zimpher’s approval.

This is just about the last thing Penn State needs to be dealing with. Great bit of reporting by Odato, who obtained a copy of the aforementioned letter and took it from there. Read his Exclusive here.

[Photo of Odato courtesy: timesunion.com]

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