Connecticut's most famous ship is out to sea, and some law makers are asking why.
A state lawmaker is calling for the dissolution of the board of directors for problem-plagued Amistad America.
Democratic Rep. Diana Urban, of North Stonington, has been critical of the organization, which lost its nonprofit status after failing to file tax returns for three years.
Now she's outraged that the replica slave ship is docked in Puerto Rico during hurricane season. The schooner will be featured as a pirate ship in a television mini-series.
She says that instead, it should be in Connecticut participating in this weekend's Schooner Festival in Mystic and New London and running other educational programs.
"It's time for the Amistad to come home, the Amistad to fulfill her mission as the flagship of the state of Connecticut," said Urban.
The ship set sail for the first time in June after undergoing two years of repairs. It was damaged during trip to Cuba in 2010.
A state audit is now underway looking at how the organization spent $8 million in taxpayer money, and Urban is calling for all of the group's board members to be tossed out.
"You need to revamp that organization, start over again so that people can feel comfortable that they're coming on to an organization that has a business plan, that has a clear direction," Urban said.
Going forward, the organization pledges to keep the ship in Connecticut for June, July, August and September, according to executive director Hanifa Washington.
The organization is also looking to appoint new members to its Board of Trustees and are working to create an advisory board, according to Washington.
She also addressed the questions over how the state funding has been spent.
"Every year we report to the state what was done with the money," Washington said. "The organization has upheld its end of the bargain with the state's money."
The commissioner of the state Department of Economic Development is now calling on the governor and legislature to give more statutory oversight authority to state agencies that oversee funds allocated by the legislature.
In a newly released report, Commissioner Catherine Smith writes, "We have few remedies for lack of performance, or even concerns about operational issues."
With additional authority, state agencies "could deny or delay payment until satisfactory information is obtained," Smith writes.
The state audit of Amistad America's spending of taxpayer money is due in November.