Bush Requests Criminal Review Of Released Documents Related To Alamo Audit
Updated 8:24 p.m.
Texas General Land Commissioner George P. Bush is crying foul on a draft audit document critical of his handling of the Alamo Restoration Project. Now Bush is requesting a criminal review of their internal findings that resulted the release of agency staff and some of their nonprofit partners personal information.
The 23-page document dated September 2017 and first reported by the Austin-American Statesmansaid that the current nonprofit structure the General Land Office uses to oversee and fund the Alamo restoration project obscures how those funds are managed.
Bush said his office has evidence that only parts of the audit were released to the newspaper, and he claims the report is incomplete.
“We do have evidence that there is a doctored memo,” Bush told reporters following a speech at the Texas Public Policy Foundations annual Policy Orientation for the Texas Legislature conference on Friday.
Bush said he has requested the Texas Department of Public Safety conduct a criminal investigation of its own agency over the release of the audit documents.
But Bush added that because there's a criminal review, he can’t say whether or not a state employee, who was terminated this month, was related to the release of the audit documents.
General Land Office spokeswoman Brittany Eck said the commissioner believes the release of this draft audit and other agency documents contained private information about agency staff and its nonprofit partners.
“We consider the personal information of employees both within the agency and outside the agency to be of the utmost importance. We found that potentially documents containing some of that information were sent to a third party,” Eck said.
Since 2015, state lawmakers have provided $106 million of the estimated $450 million effort to rebuild and restore the Alamo.
Texas Senate lawmakers have scrutinized Bush and the Land Office, and the Republican Party of Texas has criticized him for not being transparent about the projects, site plans and financial dealings.
Eck said the agency conducts internal audits of the Alamo Restoration Project and its nonprofit partners on a regular basis, and they have found some discrepancies regarding the projects' finances.
“There were some significant ones that seem to raise attention. So it brought our attention to some of the practices that were going on there, and so we have made subsequent changes that will drastically improve that process,” Eck said.
The project is expected to be completed by the 300th anniversary of the Alamo in 2024.
Ryan Poppe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @RyanPoppe1
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article quoted George P. Bush as saying there was a criminal investigation into the release of audit documents. General Land Office spokeswoman Brittany Eck later clarified his comment, saying it was a criminal review. The headline was also changed to better reflect the content of the article.