Architect of Smithsonian/Showtime sellout quits in disgrace

Lawrence M Small has resigned — without severance — from the head of the Smithsonian. This is the guy who sold out the Smithsonian's video archive to Showtime, giving the commercial entity the windfall of exclusive first-refusal rights to all the footage in America's national, tax-supported archive. Small — only the second non-scientist to run the Smithsonian — also paid himself a gigantic salary and billed the institution for the cleaning of his home chandeliers.

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…

Its Business Ventures Division has come under major criticism, in part because of a recent deal with Showtime, the cable channel. In that deal, the Smithsonian agreed to restrict access to its archives and scientists, which critics said violated its public status.


(Thanks, Carl!)

See also:
Smithsonian becomes Showtime's exclusive first-refusal archive
Smithsonian's Showtime deal: critical attorneys shred it
Smithsonian's Showtime sellout needs FOIA sunshine
Hundreds ask Smithsonian not to sell out to Showtime
Smithsonian's sellout to Showtime slammed by Congress
Lawmakers slap Smithsonian over Showtime sellout deal
Smithsonian lobbies to preserve its Showtime sellout