Lock Her Up?

Lock Her Up?


Leonard Zwelling

In all the discussion and news coverage about the $61.2M cost overrun that was the MD Anderson Watson Project, there has been no asking, from my reading, of the question of whether any laws were broken. It was obvious from the audit results that policies were not followed, but did the expenditures of as yet to be donated money, the loose accounting of services vs. payments, or the contracts given to sole source providers violate state law?


I was trying to sort through this using the cited document from the Texas House Research Organization and I must say that I came away confused. It seems there may have been some actions on the part of Dr. Chin that rise to the level of violations of state law. The only way to be certain of whether or not this occurred is via a thorough investigation by the state as to the propriety of Dr. Chin’s leadership of this OEA project, for if laws were violated, prosecution should ensue.


From this article, it certainly appears that policies were not followed and that behavior led to an expenditure of millions with nothing demonstrable in return.

Of course, this spending must be added to that for the fancy furniture, too.


I simply don’t know when someone is going to take away her credit cards and check book, but even the Texas State budget has a limit. Obviously, the Chancellor’s tolerance of this sort of behavior does not have limits as he continues to allow the DePinhos to run roughshod over MD Anderson and the efforts of the clinical faculty to defray the lavish spending the DePinhos have come to represent and take for granted.

As with any accusation of wrong doing, this one needs an examination by an unbiased arbiter and that cannot involve anyone at MD Anderson in any capacity, even as a liaison to the State auditors.

And all of this is nothing new. The ethics of Ron DePinho and Lynda Chin have been questioned repeatedly as his conflicts of interest were never resolved with regard to companies whose stock he owned and even pushed on national TV. Hers surrounding the CPRIT grant were widely publicized. And then there was Interior Design-gate.

M.D. Anderson president goes on CNBC, extols his own company

And Time Magazine even came into question four years ago for plopping an MD Anderson ad into a laudatory story about cancer with quotes from MD Anderson leaders. Which came first, the paid for ad or the institution-praising story?


When is enough enough?

Personally, the departure of the DePinhos is long overdue. So should be the departure of those aiding and abetting them in the executive suites of Pickens Tower.

If it takes a criminal investigation to convince the Chancellor that the leadership of the crown jewel of the UT Health Institutions needs replacing, so be it. Let’s get started.

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