[T]his sort of publicity does nobody any good. It just serves to paint a negative picture to Indian Country, it alienates the very people the Museum is supposed to represent and while you may not think the money spent is outlandish, it is to those who need the very basics in life...like shelter, medicines, education and they not only do not have the access, but worse, we as a nation have denied them the resources. I am ashamed that my family's resources might just have well gone elsewhere to benefit Indian people more directly, then subsidizing a lavish life style by Rick West.
Today the NMAI exists at three venues-all built under West's tenure. The museum is internationally-celebrated and boasts thousands of supporters.
American Indian Museum Spent $48,500 on Director's Portrait
Last week, the Post reported that West spent more than $250,000 over the past four years on chauffeured cars, first-class train tickets, business-class plane tickets, luxury hotels, and trips around the world.
Two U.S. senators have called for investigations into the costs; West, who was removed from the Smithsonian's payroll on Monday after retiring last month, maintains that the expenses were authorized. Kevin Gover, the museum's new director, defended West's spending.
Senators, Trustees Question Spending By Former Director
West authorized the expenditure for the portrait, completed in 2005, after consulting with some members of the museum's advisory board, St. Thomas said.
Henderson and another trustee, Norbert Hill, said they were not consulted. Hill said he thought the portrait was paid for by a law firm.
The Adams portrait, along with those of other secretaries of the Smithsonian, are in the administrative wing of the Castle, but belong to the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery collections. No other museum directors have commissioned portraits of themselves, St. Thomas said.