Don Smithburg, recently removed as head of Louisiana State University's public hospital system, obtained a credit card in the agency's name without permission, then took cash advances, a Baton Rouge, La., newspaper reports.
LSU System records obtained under a public-records request show that Smithburg, who was reassigned from the hospital system to "special projects" on June 8, took out more than $2,000 in cash advances on the card this spring, the Advocate reported.
LSU System President William Jenkins has never given a reason for removing Smithburgwho was named a Modern Healthcare Up & Comer in 1995from the position while leaving his $384,000-a-year salary intact or for deciding his three-year contract would not be renewed after Aug. 30.
The systems executive counsel, Ray Lamonica, said Smithburgh has paid back the credit card debt.
First Equity Visa, Columbus, Ga., closed the account, taken in the name of the LSU Health Services Division, at Smithburg's request, according to a letter from the company that Smithburg submitted to the hospital system's finance manager in late May. He had used almost all of a $2,500 credit limit in convenience checks and cash advance fees.
Smithburg referred questions to Keith Clouse, a nationally known Dallas employment and labor law specialist. Clouse said he is talking with Lamonica about Smithburgs ouster from the hospital job, and doesnt see the credit card as a serious issue.
Lamonica said LSU required Smithburg to pay off the debts, but the matter is still being looked at. -- by the Associated Press