We are present and former commissioners of the Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission (USS Kidd) who have known and worked with Maury Drummond for years. We know of his many accomplishments as executive director for the commission, causing the USS Kidd to become a landmark in Baton Rouge, bringing many tourists to our city.
Maury, during his 29 years of successful management of the USS Kidd, managed to secure the funds to restore a mothballed World War II destroyer to its present state, being possibly the best-restored museum ship in the world; to convert an empty building into an excellent museum; and to construct monuments to and displays of our veterans, honoring them and telling their stories as well as creating an education site for our public and schoolchildren about our veterans and their role in our history.
While executive director, Maury was elected vice president and president of the Historic Naval Ships Association ,an international organization composed of 120 museum ships worldwide; placed the USS Kidd on the National Register of Historic Sites; was a member of the board of directors of the Baton Rouge Convention Bureau; was president of Louisiana Attractions Association; received a Lifetime Achievement Award by Baton Rouge Sales and Marketing Association; was selected as Preservationist of the Year; and had the Kidd voted Attraction of the Year. He also raised the funds to bring attractions such as the NASA Exhibit and ships such as the Elissa, the Bounty, the Nina and the USS Halyburton to Baton Rouge for the public to see and enjoy, as well as put on the Fourth of July celebration every year.
A recent Louisiana inspector general’s report accuses Maury of misusing a minor amount of state funds. What he accomplished for years was achieved without using any state money. The funds used were raised mainly by Maury ; NO state money was ever received by or used in operations of this organization, and every cent he spent was first approved by the commission. Maury even spent his own money, sometimes without reimbursement, on projects for the Kidd. The Inspector General’s Office never interviewed Maury, so he was not able to explain their mistake in classifying any funds misspent. Also, many former commissioners who could have vouched for Maury were not interviewed.
I am writing this letter on behalf of myself and the following present and former commissioners: David Norwood, Henson Moore, Dan Mobley, Jim McCurry, Tom Boggs, Gary Durham, Bobbie Pugh and Jerry Pugh. We have tremendous respect for Maury , appreciate his many accomplishments for this commission, this project and this city, and believe he should be honored and praised for his service.
Dr. Kyle R. Kennedy