Caroline Baumann, the director of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, was reportedly forced to resign last week following an investigation into how she procured her wedding dress and wedding venue for her 2018 ceremony. According to The New York Times, Baumann—who had been director since 2013—resigned on Feb. 7 after the investigation found evidence of what seemed to be a conflict of interest. The Smithsonian’s inspector general probe, sparked by a staff complaint, focused on whether Baumann wrangled a dress discount by promising exposure to the designer. It also focused on whether Baumann was able to hold her ceremony at no cost at LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton after letting the owner, reportedly a friend of hers, use a Cooper Hewitt conference room for free. The Smithsonian reportedly was concerned about the appearance of favors being traded, and believed that Baumann should have reported the use of the LongHouse Reserve as a gift.
Baumann's dress designer, Samantha Sleeper, told the Times that Baumann paid her the full price she asked, $750. She also said Baumann did not ask for a discount, and she didn't offer her one. It's unclear if there were any other reasons for Baumann’s ouster. Baumann has not commented on the matter.