in Houston, Texas
Daughters of the Republic of Texas misused state funds, failed to preserve Alamo, attorney general finds
Wednesday, Nov 21, 2012, 11:47AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
Alamo

Judging by a Texas Attorney General’s report, the only thing the Daughters of the Republic of Texas weren’t responsible for at the Alamo was killing off Crockett, Bowie and Travis.

The volunteer custodian for the Alamo for more than a century failed to preserve and maintain the shrine to Texas independence, misused and used state funds for its own benefit and violated state nonprofit organization laws in the process, according to a 38-page report provided to the Texas Legislature.

(You can read the entire report here.)

The Attorney General’s office released the report more than a year after concluding an investigation that began with a complaint of mismanagement by the DRT made in June 2010, the report says.

Daughters of the Republic volunteers continue to provide services at the Alamo, but under the direction of the state General Land Office, given authority over operations by the Legislature in 2011.

Even then, the report says, DRT leaders were not altogether honest in describing their stewardship of the Alamo to lawmakers.

Only because the Legislature removed the DRT from direct control of the Alamo is the Attorney General’s office refraining from legal action against the group, the report says.

Karen Thompson, president of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, told the San Antonio Express News the organization was shocked “at the outrageously inaccurate conclusions within the report.” Thompson said the report was not an accurate picture of her organization today.

The Attorney General’s report makes clear that much of its criticism is directed at DRT leadership.

“This report recognizes that the DRT and its members have committed countless volunteer hours to serving the Alamo and the State of Texas,” the report says. “Indeed, generations of DRT members have demonstrated tireless commitment to the Alamo.”

***
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of the Alamo by flickr user Rhubarble, used via a Creative Commons license.

Alamo trademark agreement reached
Friday, Nov 18, 2011, 04:11PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
Alamo

That “I Died at the Alamo and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” idea you had will now have to go through the state’s General Land Office.

The Land Office secured an agreement to trademark “Alamo” and “the Alamo” with the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the longtime caretakers of the state’s most famous historic shrine, according to a story today by the San Antonio Express-News.

The state intends to register the names with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Mark Loeffler, communications director for the Land Office, told the paper. Left undecided is whether the chapel and the Long Barracks, long in need of funding for restoration, will be branded with the familiar ® trademark symbol.

The Land Office stepped in during a tough period for the volunteer Daughters of the Republic group, which had tried to trademark the Alamo earlier in the year, much to the dismay of state officials.

The volunteers have been under investigation since June of 2010 by the state Attorney General’s Office for their management practices. The inquiry has focused on a $900,000 contract the group had entered into to promote the Alamo that was canceled after a year.

Legislators led by state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, called for state oversight and passed a law in the past session that would allow the state to push the Daughters of the Republic aside if they refused to enter into an operating agreement with the state.

With an interim agreement $10,000 a month in state taxpayer funds will be given to the Daughters of the Republic for unspecified financial obligations during the transition to state oversight.

The Land Office is hoping revenue from trademarked items will defray operating and restoration costs for the landmark, which draws more than three million visitors a year.
 
***
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of the Alamo by flickr user j3net, used via a Creative Commons license.
Texas lawmakers propose admission charge at the Alamo
Wednesday, Mar 16, 2011, 11:58AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
Alamo

A $27 billion fiscal abyss? Squeegeeing away every penny from the rainy day fund? Slashing the office supplies budgets for every last man, woman and intern working at the state Capitol?

Charging admission to the Alamo. Now, my friends, we officially have a state budget crisis.

Legislators, including San Antonio’s own Sen. Leticia Van de Putte have filed bills that would for the first time allow the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to collect a fee from visitors who want to come inside the state treasure, according to WFAA-TV in Dallas today.

Van de Putte told a reporter she would rather not charge anything, but the condition of the Alamo and the state of donations for its upkeep might make it necessary. The Democratic state senator said her bill would also require the Daughters of the Republic to operate more publicly and to submit to more oversight from the Texas Historical Commission.

Without surprise, the 106-year-old volunteer group issued a statement saying it was saddened by the bills and the prospect of charging admission. Alamo marketing director Tony Caridi said that while the Daughters would cooperate with Van de Putte and the commission, they would not step away from their custodian responsibility.
 
***
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, NewsVine and tumblr.

Photo of the Alamo by flickr user johnkoetsier, used via a Creative Commons license.
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