Wounded Warrior Fires CEO Over Misspending Mess
Amid accusations of wasteful expenditures, COO now gone, too
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 11, 2016 9:17 AM CST
In this photo, US Army Sgt. Wade Mitcheltree, right, and about 50 other wounded veterans of wars pedal their way across the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys on Jan. 10, 2014, near Marathon, Fla.,...   (AP Photo/Florida Keys News Bureau, Andy Newman)

(Newser) – The board of Wounded Warrior Project, one of the nation's largest veteran support groups, has fired two top officials amid news reports accusing the group of wasteful spending, the AP reports. According to a statement released late Thursday on behalf of the group, CEO Steve Nardizzi and COO Al Giordano are no longer with the organization. The Wounded Warrior Project's board of directors had hired outside legal counsel and forensic accounting consultants to conduct an independent review of the Jacksonville, Fla.-based organization's records and interviews with current and ex-employees. In late January, CBS News and the New York Times reported the organization spends 40% to 50% of its money on overhead—including extravagant parties—while other veterans charities have overhead costs of 10% to 15%.

The review found that the group's most recent audited financial statement showed the organization spent 80.6% of donations on programming, and that an employee conference at a resort reported to have cost $3 million actually cost about $970,000, according to the board's statement. However, the organization says it will cut back on events such as the employee conference and is putting limits on employee travel and expenses; financial statements will be independently audited and posted on the group's website, the board said. A newly created Office of the CEO, led by board chairman Anthony Odierno, will oversee the Wounded Warrior Project on an interim basis. "It is now time to put the organization's focus directly back on the men and women who have so bravely fought for our country and who need our support," Odierno says.