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Meeting held to discuss how taxpayer money is spent at U.S.S. Kidd

3 years 7 months 4 weeks ago September 23, 2013 Sep 23, 2013 Monday, September 23 2013 September 23, 2013 9:48 PM in The Investigative Unit
Source: WBRZ
By: Ryan Naquin

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Naval War Commission discussed finances after a News 2 Investigation highlighted questionable business practices at the U.S.S. Kidd.

Monday, the commission focused on two state audits which highlighted issues with poor recordkeeping dealing with receipts for reimbursements and approval of travel and expenses.

At the meeting, Maury Drummond, who has been the executive director for three decades, led the meeting along with commission chair Joe Jenkins

Commissioners discussed the lack of receipts from purchases at a casino and a $2900 trip to a convention in Key West, Florida.  Janet Broussard, a member of the foundation, and her husband took the all-expense-paid trip.  Broussard is not a member of the commission.

Drummond says foundation members have never gone on trips paid by the commission before Broussard.

Jenkins confirmed the trip was not given prior approval but believes Drummond had the right to give the trip to whoever he wanted.  Commissioners approved the trip in February 2013 after Drummond said he became ill and wanted the Broussards to replace him.

But, documents obtained by the WBRZ News 2 Investigative Unit uncovered Drummond bought airfare to Key West for himself, his wife, Janet Broussard and her husband  on July 17, 2012.  Drummond blamed his secretary for the oversight.

"It was a mistake. There was nothing devious about it," Drummond said.

The Drummonds did not go on the trip.  Money for their two airfare tickets was not reimbursed by the airline until September 2012.

Janet Broussard has offered to pay for the trip several times, including when Drummond first selected her to attend the convention. At the meeting Monday, another woman offered to pay for it, too.  Drummond has also offered to pay for it.  The commission declined each offer, even after Drummond agreed in an interview on September 9th, 2013, that paying for Broussard's husband was an error.

Drummond has not decided if he wants to ask Broussard's husband to pay the commission back, he said.

Jenkins has yet to look at the two state audits that suggests changes to record keeping and finances at the Kidd.The Kidd gets more than $220,000 from taxpayers in East Baton Rouge; more than a quarter of its budget. The remaining money is raised through public donations, admission sales and retail.

The U.S.S. Kidd Foundation is the fundraising arm of the commission.


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