In a new report by CBS News, the popular charity Wounded Warrior Project is under fire for allegedly wasting donation money.
According to public records, the Wounded Warrior Project spends only 60% of the donations it receives on services benefiting wounded vets. This stands in stark contract to charities such as the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service of Fisher House whose figures stand over 91%.
The center of the controversy is CEO Steven Nardizzi who has seen this non-vet related spending skyrocket since he took over in 2009.
In fact he has overseen spending on meetings and conferences skyrocket from $1.7 million in 2010, to $26 million in 2014. These meetings are billed as “team building,” but former employees and participants say something much different.
One such participant, Army Staff Sergeant Erick Millette, said spending on staff was out of control:
“Let’s get a Mexican mariachi band in there, let’s get maracas made with [the] WWP logo, put them on every staff member’s desk. Let’s get it catered and have a big old party…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,”
Here’s where one of these conferences was held:
WWP’s Director of Alumni, Ryan Kule, said in response:
“It’s the best use of donor dollars to ensure we are providing programs and services to our warriors and families at the highest quality…Like I said, it’s to make sure we are aligned and can build as a team. Be able to be able to provide the best quality services.WWP and those donor dollars trained me to speak and be a voice, and that’s exactly what I’m doing”
Watch the report here (may not work on all devices):