New accusation in running of Smithsonian

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The former inspector general of the Smithsonian Institution says Lawrence M. Small, the institution’s top official, tried to head off an audit of the organization’s business ventures division.

In a telephone interview yesterday, the former official, Debra S. Ritt, said Mr. Small called her in April 2006, soon after she announced plans for the audit, to say that “he did not think it was a good use of our resources, and that we were being manipulated by disgruntled employees.”

Ms. Ritt said she found his call to be “very unusual, because he urged me instead to investigate the Smithsonian’s construction spending.”

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