About James Odato

In a career rooted in watchdog reporting, Explorer editor James M. Odato has been cited as one of New York’s top journalists covering state government, gambling, and abuse and waste of public money. He has written thousands of articles, his byline has appeared in numerous national publications and his investigative stories have spurred reforms. As a staff reporter for five daily newspapers, including the Albany Times Union and Buffalo News, Odato has received more than 30 awards from the Associated Press, New York Publishers Association, the New York Legislative Correspondents Association and other media organizations. In 2007, Investigative Reporters and Editors recognized his reporting with the Freedom of Information Award Medal. In October 2021, the University of Massachusetts Press released his book, This Brain Had a Mouth, Lucy Gwin and the Voice of Disability Nation.

Reader Interactions


  1. George L says

    As I read the article, and the summary of the proposed acquisition of Paul Smith’s by Fedcap (and it is an acquisition, not an affiliation, partnership, joint venture, etc.), I wish to observe:

    Fecap is purchasing everything. All the buildings, land, infrastructure, forest, and presumably the $35 million endowment.

    None of the referenced letters from politicians, alumni, etc., refer to an “acquisition”. If they support an acquisition, they have not said so.

    Fedcap is paying nothing – no money is changing hands and no money is being committed. For example, the deal is not that Fedcap will spend a specified sum every year for, say, fifty years to support PS.

    Fedcap will provide Paul Smith’s with shared administrative services. That is worth something, but how much?

    Fedcap will absorb Paul Smith’s finances, plus and minus, presumably meaning that if PS runs a deficit, Fedcap is responsible for it. So Fedcap will pay the deficit out of PS $35 million endowment! PS does not need Fedcap for this.

    Fedcap gets complete control of governance on 1/1/26.

    If Fedcap has complete control of governance, what guarantees the survival of PS as a college?

    What am I missing? I don’t get it. I see a table with three shells.

    Correct me where I am mistaken. Please fill in the gaps.

    Why this is good for PS?

    Desperation is not enough.

    • Joan Grabe says

      George, I just termed off the investment committee of a college foundation managing a 180 million dollar endowment. We were a separate 501c3 as I assume Paul Smith’s Foundation is instituted and managed. Fed Cap does not automatically get it’s hands on the 35 million.

      • George Locker says

        Thank you Ms. Grabe . So the $35 million question is, who now controls, and who would control (under the Fedcap acquisition) the Paul Smith’s Foundation?

  2. George L. says

    “These people would be introduced to the college’s academic offerings “strengthening enrollment and opening doors to new educational opportunities.” ”

    How many students has Fedcap introduced to PS in the time Fedcap has been on the scene?


  3. Gary D Stocker says

    I assume that Fedcap is eager to have access to Paul Smith’s federal Title IV funds. Fair speculation would be those Title IV funds would then be applied to other Fedcap subsidiaries to enhance revenues. Someone should ask about the impact this proposal would have on PS student debt and other students in Fedcap programs.

  4. Jay Hunt says

    Based on the way Fedcap has acted since making its proposal, I would not trust them one bit. Even though they do not yet own the college, they are acting as if they do. They have fired faculty and staff that would not kowtow to their demands and replaced them with their own minions. They have created an environment that has encouraged other valuable, highly skilled personnel to leave of their own volition.

    I believe their intention is not to save the college but to turn it into something completely different that better fits their own business plan. I expect that within two years, they will have eliminated existing programs and replaced them with ones that better fit in with their other existing programs, staff them with their own people and change the composition of student enrollment to reflect their own priorities.

    This deal is not rescuing the college from certain demise. It is changing it into something entirely new.

    Knowing this, if I were a parent, I would not send my child to Paul Smith’s for the coming year.

    I understand that the college board is risk averse but Fedcap has backed them into a corner where they feel they have no other alternative. In spite of the risk of failure, I believe it would be in the best interests of the college to reject the Fedcap deal and continue to pursue other ways of the college’s survival, such as partnering with other local business interests.

    If the the State of New York and residents of the Adirondack Region really want to save the college in something like it’s current form, they should reject the Fedcap deal completely.

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