Pubdate: Tue, 26 Oct 1999
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company
Author: Robert D. Mcfadden


A professor of anthropology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice
who has studied drugs and drug cultures for 25 years was accused in a
Federal complaint on Monday of misusing funds from a $2.6 million
Federal grant to buy drugs for addicts he interviewed and to pay for
travel and other personal expenses.

The professor, Ansley Hamid, 55, was accused of misusing thousands in
grant money in 1996 and 1997 to pay for trips to Florida, Hawaii and
Trinidad, to buy compact disks and CD equipment and to hire two
assistants who worked mainly on his book manuscripts, all unrelated to
his study of drug use in New York City.

Professor Hamid, a native of Trinidad who holds a doctorate from
Columbia University, has published books and many articles in
professional journals and has taught at John Jay since 1984, was also
said by prosecutors to have admitted experimenting with heroin for a
month while he was the principal investigator for his study, called
"Heroin in the 21st Century."

The Federal complaint, based on a two-year investigation and filed by
the office of United States Attorney Mary Jo White in Manhattan,
accused Professor Hamid of embezzling Government funds in excess of
$5,000 -- no exact amount was specified -- a crime punishable by up to
10 years in prison and fines of $250,000.

Appearing in Federal Court in Manhattan, Professor Hamid did not enter
a plea to the charges. He was ordered to surrender his passport and
was released on a $25,000 bond for a hearing on Nov. 29.

In a telephone interview from his home in Manhattan Monday night,
Professor Hamid vehemently denied all the allegations, responding to
each with detailed explanations of his conduct, and insisted that the
charges had grown out of a conspiracy by prosecutors and his own
subordinates and colleagues at John Jay College, who he said were
envious of his success in obtaining Federal grants and prominence in
studies on anthropology and drug use.

Since 1996, he said, he had received $7.2 million in grants from the
National Institute on Drug Abuse, a division of the Federal Department
of Health and Human Services, to conduct two studies, one focusing on
drug use in New York City and another on American, English and French
drug policies as they were being applied in New York, Trinidad and
Martinique and Guadalupe.

"This really did not go down well with colleagues," he

After the allegations against him first surfaced in 1997, he said,
John Jay removed him from his research work, reassigned him to
classroom teaching, and raised questions about his right to tenure.
Last November, he said, he filed a complaint with the Federal Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission accusing the college of
discriminating against him. In what he termed an act of retaliation,
the college then suspended him and brought charges seeking to take
away his tenure and dismiss him.

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