OIG finds USS Kidd's former director spent thousands of dollars improperly
BATON ROUGE - The state Inspector General's Office released their findings from a review of spending by the former director of the USS Kidd, who the OIG said spent thousands of dollars improperly.
The OIG's review said between 2011 and 2013 Maury Drummond spent $13,552 paying for things like personal meals, his wife's travel expenses to join him at conferences, and his personal credit card bills. The review said in many cases no receipts were kept, and no public purpose for the spending was identified.
Among the questionable spending was $2,295 donated by Drummond to several charities or organizations but listed as "office supplies," which may violate state law.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit first reported on the state audit and other spending irregularities in 2013. Drummond retired the same year but said his plans had nothing to do with the audit or review.
Drummond's attorneys responded to the OIG's report by saying he suffered several health issues which could have affected his record-keeping ability, and any purchases he reimbursed himself for were related to his position working for the Naval War Memorial Commission. The attorneys said Drummond never personally profited from the spending, or violated the trust put into him when he was given the position.
The Inspector General said the new management put into place after Drummond retired has made "very significant progress" correcting the issues raised by the audit.
"The Kidd is important to the Baton Rouge community. We wish it well going forward," said Inspector General Stephen Street.
The review also addressed the tax status of the Naval War Memorial Foundation, which is the fundraising arm of the state Naval War Memorial Commission. The OIG said in 1995 a Commission audit found the Foundation was accepting private donations as if they were a tex-exempt entity, but it was the Commission which was actually recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt group. The review said despite repeated calls to address the situation the Foundation continued to accept donations without proper 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.
The OIG said because of this, the Foundation will be dissolved and re-formed in order to get its status right with the IRS. Foundation vice-president Herman Moore told the Inspector General's Office new donations to the Foundation are beind held or returned until the situation is resolved.