Salary idea paid off for cancer agency exec

Houston Chronicle - Eric Berger and Todd Ackerman
December 12, 2012

A foundation created to supplement the salaries of top staffers at the state's cancer agency was the brainchild of its executive director, who would become a beneficiary.

According to documents provided by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Foundation on Wednesday, Bill Gimson suggested the foundation be created after he was hired as the cancer agency's executive director in 2009.

Until his resignation this week Gimson got an annual supplement of $86,000 from the foundation, bringing his total annual salary to $300,000.

Gimson, a former official of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "referenced the CDC model" of private salary supplements "and it gave him the idea to replicate that model to support and strengthen CPRIT work," the foundation's executive director, Jennifer Stevens, said in a document provided to the Chronicle Wednesday.

As the Chronicle reported Tuesday, Dallas philanthropist Peter O'Donnell gave $1.6 million through his foundation to the CPRIT Foundation in 2009, 2010 and 2011. That sum appears to be about half of the foundation's total budget, according to figures on the foundation's website.

....

"It remains a suspicious insider deal," said Glenn Smith, director of the Progress Texas Political Action Committee, which has called for an independent investigation of the cancer agency. "Mr. O'Donnell may or may not have been the ultimate beneficiary, but a benefit was given to CPRIT staff and a benefit returned to Mr. O'Donnell and/or Southwestern."

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