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Auditors unable to give financial status for USS KIDD

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Posted: Jul 26, 2014 9:28 PM by Ambria Washington
Updated: Jul 26, 2014 9:28 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: audit, uss kidd, financial, expenses, records

BATON ROUGE - The U.S.S Kidd is trying to stay afloat after the state audit was unable to do a proper audit report by giving an opinion on financial shape of the Kidd because of the lack of expense records.

Amy Torres and her family made the trip from Dallas to get on board the ship.

"We went online and searched all the different options and we drove around 45 minute around Baton Rouge, this is the one that we choose because it was the least expensive and the most interesting," said Torres.

The history behind the warship also attracts locals too.

"I haven't been here since 5th, 6th grade since I've been on here, but it's nice to see people still visiting because it is an important part of our history," said Felicia Bennett.

Despite its financial troubles, the U.S.S. Kidd stays afloat on paid admissions, a museum and city grants, but it's still trying to pay it's bills.

"We are not closing down," said Executive Director, Alex Juan. "Certainly, there has been a financial crisis since the time that I took it over, but that was already happening."

The preliminary state auditors report for 2013 was released Saturday at a board meeting. The audit questioned the legitimacy of the business expenses and management actions made by the previous excecutive director. The problems included missing expenses records, lack of oversight on issuing checks and reimbursements and no inventory.

The News 2 Investigative Unit uncovered a number of Kidd's finanicial problems after public records showed questionable management practices that spanned over the years.

It's a situation current Executive Director inherited when she took the job.

"Things like missing receipt, missing invoices, justification of payments. I mean we all know that those sort of things are needed but they weren't here," said Juan.

Although the U.S.S. Kidd is under scrutiny, the development in downtown Baton Rouge and along the river front is attracting more visitors and board has to figure out to get those visitors to the Kidd.

"The ultimate solution is to continue to get people to come here, and one is cleaning house and to know exactly what our value is and the inventory can be the key to that," said Juan. "It may be worth more than what we currently are or we might be worth less".

"I need to know if there are any outstanding liabilities out there, but I also need to know as we continue to move forward with the programming having people come back and revisit is going to certainly help."

The Baton Rouge Foundation has offered to help the U.S.S. Kidd by creating a strategical plan to get state and local leaders to raise funds for the ship.

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