The two top executives of the Wounded Warrior Project — among the largest veterans charities in the country — were fired Thursday after an investigation into accusations of lavish spending on parties, hotel and travel, according to a statement released on behalf of the embattled organization.
Wounded Warrior Project's CEO, Steven Nardizzi, and COO, Al Giordano, were fired by the charity's board amid criticisms about how it spent more than $800 million in donations over the last four years. The development was confirmed by Abernathy MacGregor, a public relations firm hired to represent the veterans charity.
The charity came under fire after an earlier CBS News investigation in January revealed large amounts of spending on administration, meetings, and travel.
Nonprofit watchdog “Charity Navigator” says Wounded Warrior Project spends just 60 percent of its budget on veterans. The Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation provides more than 98 percent to veterans. Charity Navigator also assessed that Wounded Warrior’s total revenue for 2014 was well over $340 million.
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Going to a nice fancy restaurant is not team building. Staying at a lavish hotel at the beach here in Jacksonville, and requiring staff that lives in the area to stay at the hotel is not team building," Army Staff Sergeant Erick Millette, who returned from Iraq in 2006 with a bronze star and a purple heart, told CBS News.
According to the charity's tax forms obtained by CBS News, spending on conferences and meetings went from $1.7 million in 2010, to $26 million in 2014, which is the same amount the group spends on combat stress recovery.
Two former employees, who were so fearful of retaliation they asked that CBS News not show their faces on camera, said spending has skyrocketed since Steven Nardizzi took over as CEO in 2009, pointing to the 2014 annual meeting at a luxury resort in Colorado Springs.
Wounded Warrior Project's top execs reportedly fired amid lavish spending scandal
Published March 10, 2016