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Rao signs $50k resignation settlement

Dr. Abdul Rao released his resignation letter and signed a settlement contract Wednesday stating that the University will take no further action against him.

The $50,000 contract accounts for six weeks of severance pay in a one-time payment. Rao, who oversaw research grants at the College of Medicine, made $384,280 annually.

The contract also stipulates that USF and Rao will not express negative opinions about each other, said USF spokesman Michael Hoad.

Rao had a contract to work for the University until February 2010.

Hoad said he does not expect the review of Rao’s actions to continue.

“It becomes irrelevant because there is no discipline we can give at this point,” he said.

In his resignation letter, Rao stated: “It is with deepest regret that I inform you that I have elected to resign from my administrative positions at the University of South Florida Health.”

The letter outlines Rao’s work and accomplishments at USF.

“During the same period, our NIH funding has tripled to $89 million (a) year and we stand to regain our legitimate position in the ranking table,” he stated.

Rao also thanked co-workers for their time and help with his achievements at the University.

“I sincerely hope that my untiring efforts at this Institution are recognized and that they facilitate the accomplishment of the goals outlined by you and your visionary leader Dr. Steve Klasko,” Rao stated in the letter. “I remain indebted to him for giving me the opportunity to serve this great Institution and to work with one of the best and the brightest group of faculty, staff and students that one could be associated with in their lifetime.”

Rao declined to comment on the situation since his letter was released.

Christine Dillingham, who parked a bike she had borrowed from doctoral student Tim Boyd under the loading dock of the Johnnie B. Byrd Sr. Alzheimer’s Center and Research Institute, said the bike was stolen Monday by Rao and a man he described as his “semi-homeless” acquaintance, Victor Waiters, and returned by Waiters on Wednesday.

The case is still under investigation at the state attorney’s office.

Dillingham said Rao’s resignation was probably the best decision he could have made.

“I would have never expected when I found the bike gone that this would have happened,” she said.

She Rao demonstrated that he took responsibility for his actions by stepping down.

“He didn’t represent USF as he should,” she said.

Dillingham said that though she believes bicycle theft is a concern, she hopes anyone on campus would respect students’ property.

She said she plans to continue parking her bike under the Byrd Institute loading dock because she knows there are security cameras there.

A surveillance video was posted on YouTube last week showing Rao and Waiters drive up to the loading dock at the Byrd Institute, take the bike and drive away.

The video has since been removed from YouTube, and a message reads, “This video has been removed due to terms of use violation.”