Audit of SUNY Upstate Medical University Showcases Questionable Leadership Decisions and the Ensuing Consequences

New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli followed the lead of’s journalist James T. Mulder in his audit of SUNY Upstate Medical University. His series of investigative news stories led DiNapoli to uncover the “egregious overspending and bad hiring decisions” of Upstate’s leadership.

As reported on, DiNapoli includes the cost to taxpayers of Upstate’s actions:

  •  Upstate paid $1.4 million to 38 employees exiled from campus for disciplinary reasons, often giving them bogus work assignments, and failing to even notice if their “homework” was turned in.
  • It paid $4.7 million in supplemental salary to 12 people, without documenting or justifying what they did to earn the extra paychecks.
  • It paid full SUNY salary to former president Dr. Danielle Laraque-Arena at the same time it was paying her interim replacement, Dr. Mantosh Dewan, to keep her as an “available resource” during the leadership transition.
  • The comptroller also slams Upstate’s lax hiring and firing procedures that could put SUNY property and patient information at risk for theft.

In response to the comptroller’s recommendations, Dr. Dewan commits to tighten up policies and procedures and keep better records—but this isn’t the solution. In fact, Dewan is only proving the real problems: “a chronic lack of transparency, lack of accountability, lack of steady leadership at the local level and lack of institutional controls in Albany.”

How bad do things have to get before actual solutions (better leadership and system of governance) are put in place? Honestly, we don’t want to know.

Call to Action: has done a fantastic job in overseeing many of Upstate’s insensible choices. You can click on the link below to learn more or sign up for our newsletter for transparent coverage of clinical trials and other medical news from around the world.