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Report criticizes agency's oversight, management of Alamo

(Photo: Pixabay)

The unusual use of a nonprofit to manage the Alamo is overly complicated and sometimes violates state requirements, according to a preliminary audit report about state oversight of the landmark's operations.

A copy of the internal report by auditors for the General Land Office was obtained by the Austin American-Statesman and recommends the agency "reconsider the structure and funding model for Alamo operations."

"This is an unusual situation that has created complexity and a lack of clarity regarding the nature and the use of the funds used for the Alamo operations," the report says.

State senators complained to Land Commissioner George P. Bush during a December hearing that Alamo Complex Management was funded entirely by public money but didn't provide the transparency to track the use of that money. The nonprofit, which has since been renamed the Alamo Trust, is responsible for the San Antonio landmark's day-to-day operations.

Bush is overseeing a $450 million plan to redevelop and improve the site, featuring things like a new museum housed in nearby state-owned buildings and additional historic programming. A mix of public money and private donations is meant to cover the cost.

But the report obtained by the newspaper, dated Sept. 8, notes that "the current situation obscures the control of the funds. It also has created a situation where GLO is responsible for state laws over the use of funds, but with limited control since the expenditures are prior to approval by the GLO."

GLO spokeswoman Brittany Eck said the audit is not complete because agency officials haven't responded to its claims. She adds that the audit is part of a process to overhaul financial practices to provide greater transparency.

"Management gets to respond, and may agree, disagree or have some other response to the preliminary findings," she said. "That response may be in the form of written rebuttals, or written answers of some other nature, or in the form of actions taken. That part of the audit, which is critical, is not complete so the audit itself is not complete."

She also told the newspaper that the report "has been altered and leaked before being presented to you as authentic."

State auditors examined agency oversight of the Alamo from mid-2015 through the end of 2016. Bush's first year in office was 2015 and which is when he created Alamo Complex Management to run the state-owned landmark, replacing the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

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