Smithsonian Official Resigned In Wake of Ethics Probe

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The head of the Smithsonian Latino Center resigned in February after an internal investigation found that she violated a variety of rules and ethics policies by abusing her expense account, trying to steer a contract to a friend and soliciting free tickets for fashion shows, concerts and music award ceremonies, according to records released yesterday by the Smithsonian.

Pilar O'Leary, who was hired in 2005 by then-Secretary Lawrence M. Small to be the institution's key representative on Latino affairs, billed the Smithsonian "extravagant" and "lavish travel expenses," and used her expense account on personal purchases such as outings to a spa and hotel gift shops, the Smithsonian inspector general found.

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