Unauthorized outside pay for David Smith, president of the State University of New York Upstate Medical University, may have derailed his candidacy to become the next president of Pennsylvania State University, The Albany Times Union reported.
SUNY announced Tuesday that Smith has been placed on on leave. The announcement said that Smith was placed on leave while SUNY reviews unspecified "compensation issues" and because of health issues facing Smith. The Syracuse Post-Standard reported that Smith's compensation in 2012 included $363,537 from the university, $268,923 from the SUNY Research Foundation, and a monthly housing allowance of $5,000.
But the Times Union said that a search firm vetting Smith for the Penn State presidency (which he may have been close to winning) found that he was also receiving unauthorized payments from two companies with ties to Upstate Medical University. The search firm's inquiries apparently alerted SUNY to the situation. A letter to Smith from SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher says that these substantial additional payments may need to be returned and she ordered him to stop accepting such funds. Smith, formerly chancellor of Texas Tech University, declined to comment.