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SUNY Upstate president resigns; state comptroller announced audit
The president of SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse is resigning from his position after being placed on leave. Meanwhile, the state comptroller has announced an audit of SUNY Upstate.
In a statement, Dr. David Smith says his resignation from the university is necessary "so that this great institution can move on to even greater success." Smith announced his resignation on Thursday.
Smith had been placed on leave from the university earlier this week and is still facing a review of his compensation by the state. Smith allegedly took hundreds of thousands of dollars from companies with ties to Upstate. The Albany Times-Union reported earlier this week that Smith accepted nearly $350,000 from Medbest Medical Management Inc. and Pediatrics Service Group LLP. His salary was listed at $625,000 a year, including a $60,000 housing stipend and more than $250,000 from the SUNY Research Foundation.
Friday afternoon, New York State Comptroller Thomas Dinapoli announced his office will conduct an audit of the State University of New York Upstate Medical University’s contracts with Medbest Medical Management. Dinapoli said in a statement that recent reports about the relationship between former SUNY Upstate President Dr. David Smith and Medbest have raised significant red flags about the company's contracts with the state.
The comptroller said his auditors will examine whether Upstate's contract with Medbest is in violation of state law or if any abuse occurred. SUNY Upstate has a $22 million contract with the company to provide technical support for an electronic medical record system.
SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher named former Upstate President Dr. Gregory Eastwood officer-in-charge of the institution on Tuesday. Eastwood was president of the school from 1993 until 2006.
In a written statement, Zimpher said the institution's students and patients should have "strong, uninterrupted leadership and Dr. Eastwood is uniquely qualified to fill this role." Smith became SUNY Upstate's president in 2005, after serving five years as Texas Tech University's chancellor.