Expenses for the New York trips often ran more than $1,000 a night. On one occasion last year he stayed in a $559-a-night room at the W Hotel, and on another he billed the Smithsonian for a $286 meal with filmmaker and photographer Gwendolen Cates during which most of the tab went for alcoholic beverages, including a $75 bottle of Italian wine, a 1997 Barbaresco. West said Cates was an extraordinary filmmaker who premiered a movie about a Native American ballet dancer at the museum.Indian Museum Director Spent Lavishly on Travel
By James V. Grimaldi and Jacqueline Trescott
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, December 28, 2007; A01
The founding director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian spent more than $250,000 in institution funds over the past four years on first-class transportation and plush lodging in hotels around the world, including more than a dozen trips to Paris.
In that time, W. Richard West Jr. was away from Washington traveling for 576 days on trips that included speaking engagements, fundraising and work for other nonprofit groups, according to a review of travel vouchers for West's trips obtained by The Washington Post.
West's travel often took him far from American Indian culture: Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand; Athens; Bali, Indonesia; Sydney and Brisbane; London; Singapore; Florence, Rome and Venice; Paris; Gothenburg, Sweden; Seville, Spain; Seoul; Vienna; and Zagreb, Croatia.