AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The head of the Alamo's longtime caretakers said Tuesday her embattled group has found closure in a scathing report from state investigators who lambasted the Daughters of Republic of Texas as dysfunctional and financially inept.
Karen Thompson, president-general of the Daughters, also said membership hasn't suffered despite three years of bad publicity and embarrassing disclosures that rank among the low points in the organization's 122-year history. Last week, the Texas attorney general's office released a blistering report that highlighted the chronic mismanagement that led lawmakers to remove the Daughters as the Alamo's exclusive caretakers. .
The report accused the Daughters of neglecting critical preservation projects and misappropriating state funds. Prosecutors, however, have said they will not press charges.
In a fiery rebuttal last week, Thompson expressed shock at the report's "outrageously inaccurate conclusions." But on Tuesday, in what served as the Daughters' formal response, Thompson struck a more even tone and said the report closes the books on the controversy.
She also defended the Daughters' care of the Alamo for the past century.
"Do you think if we had mismanaged that place so bad for 107 years, wouldn't it be falling down?" Thompson told The Associated Press. "Wouldn't it be a bad place to visit? Would it not look like what it does today? Just look at the Alamo. I don't think it looks like it's falling down."
Lawmakers last year removed the Daughters as chief caretakers amid concerns over their management and fundraising capabilities. The state's most iconic landmark is now in the hands of the General Land Office, which is asking lawmakers for $1 million for immediate preservation work and repairs.
Thompson said "no organization is perfect" and that the group plans to use the report as a learning tool.
Membership in the Daughters remains steady despite their battered public image, Thompson said. She said the organization is approaching 8,000 active members and in the process of chartering three new chapters.
The Daughters still help the state care for the Alamo, but now answer to much stricter oversight. Among the responsibilities the organization lost was management of the gift shop, which the state has turned over to a private company for the first time in history.
"We've been there 107 years. We want to continue to be there for 107 years more," Thompson said. "But in this process, we've learned that we don't need to do this by ourselves."