Monday, January 10, 2005

Double-Billing by Yale School of Management Professor

An ironic story in the Wall Street Journal (Jan. 10) discusses the demise of Florencio López-de-Silanes as the head of the Yale School of Management's International Institute for Corporate Governance for $150,000 of double-billed business expenses.  According to the article:

Neither Yale nor Mr. López-de-Silanes -- known as a strong advocate of prompt disclosure of corporate misdeeds -- has announced his planned exit. Responding to an inquiry from The Wall Street Journal, Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said, "He has resigned from Yale as a result of financial misconduct and irregularities in his role as director of the International Institute for Corporate Governance." He added: "Appropriate corrective actions have been taken."

The $150,000, while not trivial, is certainly not enough in itself to put one's career at risk, and raises a question found in many white collar crime cases about why a person would engage in misconduct for an amount that is insignificant compared to the loss that will be suffered from the revelation of the wrongdoing.  For Mr. López-de-Silanes, that includes the loss of a tenured professorship, a leadership position at a high-profile institution, and most likely his reputation for personal integrity. (ph)

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