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Wounded Warrior Project Stealing Money From Vets

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a veteran holding the American flag | Wounded Warrior Project Stealing Money From Vets | featured | warrior project
  • The Wounded Warrior Charity for wounded veterans has been accused of major misuse of money. 
  • According to tax forms, the charity went from $1.7 million a year on conferences and meetings in 2010 to $27 million in 2014. 
  • Many point the finger at Steven Nardizzi who took over as CEO in 2009.
  • Nardizzi did not directly comment, but the charity denies spending that much.

The charity for wounded veterans, the Wounded Warrior Project, is facing accusations of using donor money toward excessive spending on conferences and parties instead of on recovery programs, according to a CBS News report.

Army Staff Sergeant Erick Millette, who returned from Iraq in 2006 with a bronze star and a purple heart, told CBS News he admired the charity’s work and took a job with the group in 2014 but quit after two years.

“Their mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors, but what the public doesn’t see is how they spend their money,” he told CBS News.

Millette said he witnessed lavish spending on staff, with big “catered” parties.

“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,” he told CBS News.

Related: Seattle Must Address Their Homeless Problem

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.

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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.

“He rappelled down the side of a building at one of the all-hands events. He’s come in on a Segway, he’s come in on a horse,” one employee told CBS News.

About 500 staff members attended the four-day conference in Colorado, which CBS News reported cost about $3 million.

Wounded Warrior Project declined CBS News’ interview requests for Nardizzi, but instead sent Director of Alumni and a recipient of their services, Captain Ryan Kules, who denied there was excessive spending on conferences.

“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,” he said.

Kules added the charity did not spend $3 million on the Colorado conference, but he was not there and was unable to say what it did cost. He also told CBS News that the charity does not spend money on alcohol or engages in any other kind of excessive spending.

Watch this CBS News here:

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76 Comments

76 Comments

  • DB says:

    I’ve known for years that the Wounded Warrior Project didn’t give what they could to our veterans. They are no different than most of the “charities”. They see all that money and can’t help but “help themselves”. After all, it must be a very stressful job.

  • Jeffjet says:

    I also heard a report that they donated some of “their money” to a San Francisco gay ballet gtoup.

  • Ed Wallenborn says:

    Any charity executive that receives a salary of more than $200.000 is a greedy crook, and more interested in lining their own pockets than taking care of the needy the charity is supposed to help. I stopped donating to the WWP over a year ago when I found out how much more was going to pay greedy executives (and movie stars to advertise) than was going to help our wounded warriors. It is about time the left wing press finally exposed this corrupt, and greedy charity!

  • BELINDA GEYER-BROWN says:

    because that money is for wounded vets not to make fat cats you guys so be ashamed for your selves these are heroes that kept this country safe !!!!!!!! not for you to line your pockets on their shirt tails .. my dad was a veteran and he had severe PTSD i am ashamed of you guys obviously you are not or you won’t be taking advantage at their price SHAME ON YOU !!!!!!!

  • Don Poush says:

    I think Wounded Warriors should be 501C3-19, all money that comes in should go back out being used for the veterans. The management of this organization should not be able to do this. And now there caught!

  • Don Coykendall says:

    At least 80% should go towards veterans services

  • don says:

    Why doesn’t the board just fire him and find a CEO who is in line with actually helping Wounded Warriors? Seems like an easy fix to me. This Program is far too important to go on for too much longer with this idiot at the helm.

  • Brent Rutley says:

    Hey, no doubt these are crooks!
    Ask them what percentage of donations go to our Wounded Vets, its disgusting.
    If you really want to donate to a worthwhile cause for vets, try Operation Second Chance.
    We work at getting vets back out into the field hunting, fishing and connecting back into creation.
    We are a volunteer organization and don’t have a quasi-governmental bloated bureaucracy like the WW rip off artists. Your money actually goes to our guys and gals, not corporate retreats and dinners!
    OSC/NPLB

  • Greg says:

    This is why charities have earned a bad name.

  • Lance says:

    All research done by myself, my brother in law and my resently deceased veteran friend indicate the “wounded warrior project” is just a scam to steal money from donors to enrich the corporation and it’s leaders. It’s ratio of income to funds used for veteran benefits is very poor.

  • Don Robertson says:

    Well the charges are very troubling, I have supported WWP for a long time. I hope they can correct the news statments of the news outlets. It does say that they spent 26mil on events etc. on tax records. Being a vet, I will Waite until they defend themselves .

  • George E Scott says:

    Advertising budget (FOX Cable) must be ultra-expensive. NOT PSA’S.
    Have 20 years in broadcasting. I believe this organization a terrible scam on our veterans.

  • Robert says:

    It’s not right to screw vets. I will cancel my monthly donation.

  • Wanda says:

    Death is too good for this SOB if this is true!

  • Paul Uhland says:

    Obviously, the present leader creep thief is living high, doesn’t give a damn about vets, won’t discuss it, needs to be indicted.
    I NEVER give to WW junk mail I get.

  • David Stein says:

    No excuses for that kind of B. S.

  • Donald Turner says:

    If the news report is correct and WWP are having the lavish parties and staying in luxury hotels, and not spending the money on Vets, then, I will not support this organization in the future.

  • Allan Van Horne says:

    The guy has to be the king of sleaze!

  • Bea Mitchell says:

    I read an article on line that printed part of their tax return. It is disgusting. I used to donate to Wounded Warriors but won’t again until there is major reform.

  • J B Souder says:

    I have long suspected that organization of misusing funds. I have been associated with a similar organization in San Diego, California for over 10 years now and they give virtually every penny to the guys they help. We helpers are all volunteers and NONE of us are compensated for our time or efforts.

  • Daren Theige says:

    I always thought this was a stupid charity. It’s the VA’s JOB to take care of wounded Veterans, why don’t people stand up and scream at the Government to do good by our Veterans??!!!

  • HOWARD KOENIG SFC US ARMY RETIRED says:

    THE COST OF CONFERENCES AND PERKS IS TAKING MONEY FROM VETS THAT NEED IT.

  • HOWARD KOENIG SFC US ARMY RETIRED says:

    THE COST OF CONFERENCES AND PERKS IS TAKING MONEY FROM VETS THAT NEED IT.

  • Raymond E Potter says:

    Jeremy Feldbucsh, one of the original spokesman for the WWP draws no salary. Seriously wounded at the damn in Iraq, along with 2 other men, knocked door to door on Congressmen’s doors to try to get help for the plight of returning veterans. Attends numerous veteran functions, with very little compensation. The leadership is stealing. No other way to say it. Master Gunnery Sergeant USMC

  • Suzanne says:

    If this is true HE SHOULD BE INSTANTLY FIRED! This is disgusting! He will continue to care only about himself as long as he is allowed to get away with it. GET RID OF HIM NOW!

  • George says:

    If one is judged by being a good steward of funds given this guy flunks….

  • Don Kirt says:

    just like the red cross or the united way they get paid first.They drive the fancy cars and have the big houses while the vets get the left overs…..

  • "Recon" Golf 3 Alpha says:

    Yep I’d heard about this and advised all of my friends about it. It’s a truly sad fact of life that there are those who will use the pain and suffering of others for their own benefit. SOME scum belong in cells but get to stay in Penthouses on other people’s money. Too bad the government can’t or DOESN’T step in and file fraud charges against him and DEMAND that they find another CEO and change their MO’s.

  • Stan says:

    My son is a Purple Heart Marine insured in Iraq in 2009. He said that Wounded Warriors was bad news because very little money they raise goes to vets. He said this more than a year ago. Vets know this organization is a shame. They are breaking the backs of those they say they help. They need to be exposed on a much larger scale.

  • David Stroud says:

    This is almost always what happens to big charities! It happened to United Way when the president stole thousands some years ago. The smart way to contribute to any charity is directly to the charity rather through a TV ad or other media general promise to do what it says it will do!!

  • Town Crier says:

    They should get a REAL vet in there – one that’s Been There & shot at & maybe wounded! They KNOW what it’s like and will do the right thing by thier comrads in arms! If they are already receiving retirement money, they shouldn’t NEED a fat salary to lead the orginization. If I had the skills, I would do it for about $24,000 a year, not $500,000 -plus – and all I get is Social (IN)Security, not a dime for being a vet!

  • HM2, USN, 65-69 says:

    WERE IT THE CEO, ET AL, HAD BEEN A TRUE, MEANINGFUL VET, IF HE/THEY SERVED AT ALL, THIS MASSACRE OF FUNDS WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED. I SAY LET THE VETS WHO SUFFER AND WAIT FOR AID, LET THEM DO THE VERDICT AND SENTENCING! TO KEEP MY VOICE CIVIL, JUST FRY THE FUCKERS ASSES ! !

  • Tom Soles says:

    I thought for a long time that WW was good for our Vets. I’V been
    screwed. They will only get a line of disbelief from me from now on.

  • Robert Inabinette says:

    I use to donate to WW but when I asked how many veterans they employ, they did not reply, so I quit donating.

  • Michael Mertz says:

    Just like any other project or program to help vets that rely on donations. The people in charge think it’s their personal piggy bank.????

  • Carl says:

    I must disagree with this article as not only is it slanderous based upon hearsay but I believe it to be completely unfounded. I am presently an Alumni with Wounded Warrior Project and they’ve helped me out tremendously. I can attribute my success and personal well being to their success. As far as their team building events, that goes right back to fundamental leadership. When you have a team (staff) that works well together and is happy, they put out a quality product. I’ve personally seen this first hand in regards to the vets that participate. It is also logical to assume that as a company grows, so does its expenses?

  • John Wirts says:

    The biggest problem with this country, is that all the kids coming out of high school, and college are convinced by the public indoctrination system, that they are “ENTITLED” to everything . They participate in sports and everyone gets a participation trophy! Whoopie doo, worthless acknowledgement for I showed up. These embezzling SOB’s STOLE FUNDS supposed TO HELP WOUNDED WARRIORS, and used it for their own pleasure! They should be offered a plea bargain. They can keep their job for one dollar a year salary until all misappropriated funds are returned, or they can be fires and charged with grand theft, tried, and if found guilty sent to prison, with forfiture of all pay, allowances and any medical and retirement package from the government!

  • mark says:

    they been doing it four years they are one big joke unamerican ass holes.

  • Craig Brown says:

    I have for quite some time questioned the expense of the TV commercials for WW and all the mailers they send out. Nothing but cost not being used for Vets.

  • Linda says:

    We are giving that money to help VETS, not CEO’s to get rich and party with the employees. He needs to stop that nonsense…take a pay cut and fly coach…then I’ll start giving again and so will others. We no longer trust him to manage the funds coming into the Wounded Warrior Project. We will give locally from this point on. Shame on you for thinking of yourself and squandering money that can help our men and women who came home wounded and in need of our support. Greed is an evil thing. You might want to get this right real soon!!!!

  • Jerry de Roche says:

    I’m dumping wounded warrior. There is no reason in the world that the CEO should be making damn near a half million bucks. How is it that other groups return 96 and 91 percent to the vet’s compared to 60 percent for wounded warriors. I believe they should be investigated for fraud. They should be ashamed!!!!!!!

  • Robin E. Halterman says:

    Im a Vietnam in country vet —-these people should be in jail and prosecuted to the max. Making money on someone elses misfortunes is unforgivable. I was going to donate a years worth until I heard about this s–t. If the administration wouldnt get any of my donations i still would if this could happen. Its a very good plan(the wounded warriors project). I hope it makes it OK. Alot of my fellow vets wonder what a 25cent bullit would HELP? Just a thought.

  • Carolyn says:

    Our veterans need a lot of help. We never treated them right. This must change.

  • Jim Alkek says:

    Examination of financial statements shows significant reclassification of “administrative costs” and “fund raising fees”. Very little is actually spent on direct veterans services. Local WWP veteran events are all volunteer and raise their own money to cover the event expenses. The only thing in common with the national WWP is the name!

  • Junk Bin says:

    The project is big bucks. Unfortunately, the people running the show think they are entitled to have lavish benefits .
    Always lookup any charity before donation.
    basic check use charity navigator

  • Gerald Veselsky says:

    I donate to wounded warriors and i would like a lot more money used for the vets.

  • Dexter Meise says:

    I kne this when it started, nobody hS E TO TELL ME A SXAM.

  • Joseph Waiblinger says:

    Just look at all the money they have ripped off the donors. I inquired how much Tracy Adkins got paid for doing the commercial and nobody wanted to tell me. I could go on and on, but other people have already done a fine job.

  • David Freyer says:

    It is a well known fact that WWP “muckity-mucks” do more for themselves than the vets. As a 27 year combat Marine, it is disgusting to see this “charity” misuse the money they receive from folks who believe it would mostly be used to make wounded and ‘broken’ veteran’s lives better, instead of enriching WWP executives. There are many charitable organizations dedicated to the veteran. The best one is the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and I encourage each person reading this to investigate the DAV. Is an organization that tirelessly works for the betterment of disabled veterans. Whether it be championing their claim before the Veterans Administration, to providing equipment to ease the burden of their disability. and everything in-between,

    The WWP is a sham and those who run it, should be making “little rocks out of big rocks’ in a Mississippi prison.

  • James Martinson says:

    I am a Disabled Veteran and volunteer for another Veterans organization and we have do our best to help the returning veterans who have been harmed during there deployments.

  • Deva says:

    I think it is horrible for anyone to take money from or wounded war heros

  • Tamra Lewis says:

    My brother was a very strong supporter of Wounded Warrior Project. He would be shocked at how the CEO is spending money!!!! My brother died 2 years ago. I have changed our support to Navy SEAL Foundation.

  • Klaus says:

    I always suspected that they spend more money on advertising and other things than on actually helping vets.

  • Chuck says:

    Nothing is sacred anymore.Greed prevails everywere.The CEO of the Wounded Warrior Project should be removed and arrested for misuse of funds. Your Friendly Vietnam Vet
    Chuck

  • gail says:

    As always it’s possible when large amounts of money come into play. Wounded Warriors has done wonderful things for my son and I would need more proof before I’d believe it. Of course if you want to discuss crooks, lets talk about our government.

  • Dennis Semenza says:

    Charity Watch has given them a D rating.

  • Don says:

    Using funds designated for our Wounded Warriors is a disgrace to our country. It’s apparent to me, the CEO needs to be “shipped out” and replaced by someone who cares.

  • Capt.Samuel Castrale says:

    My cousins Husbands LOST RIGHT LEG FROM NEE DOWN , RIGHT ARM FROM ELBOW DOWN.A THE ASSHOLE CEO. IS MAKING THAT KIND OF $ IS OBSEEN. IM A FORMER MARINE {SERVICE CONECTED DISABLED} HAVE DONATED EVERY TIME I HAD SOME EXTRA MONEY DO YOU THINK YOUR YOUR THE RED CROSS THE MONRY SHOULD BE GOING TO VETS NOT ON LAVISH PARTYS,YOU WILL NEVER GET A NOTHER DIME SEMPER FI

  • Paul says:

    I’ve heard this from other sources. It’s widely known among we members of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA.ORG).

  • Robert E. Hodge says:

    Because these charities always steal from the needy.

  • tom says:

    If that much moneys has been received then there should be much greater results shown.
    I have not heard of much that should ha ve happened.

  • Jim Robinett says:

    this organization appears to be spending a very large portion of what they collect to help wounded veterans on many things which are not helping any veterans at all. Wish we could have much more information on exactly where all the funds collected actually are spent

  • Tony says:

    They are spending lavishly on overhead.

  • Wilton Bennett says:

    They lie and steal ,because of big salary to the big leaders.

  • LES THATCHER says:

    IN 2009 CHECK THE AMOUNT OF DONATIONS AND COMPARE THAT TO 300 MILLION DOLLARS NOW. THE PERCENTAGES REMAIN THE SAME COMPARED TO EXPENSES.

  • David says:

    The reported spending!!!

  • William R. Janosco says:

    When they spend $141,000.000.00 on Travel and Perks for their Staff it is Disgraceful all
    In one years time!!

  • Enrique Ortiz says:

    This is not the first time this was brought up.
    If wwp is denying this, all they have to do is submit all there records.

  • capt.Samuel Castrale says:

    NOT ONE MORE DIME ,SEMPER-FI

  • Richard A says:

    This is what happens in a lot of these charitie Organizations.

  • Dave Beahan says:

    The WWP is not using the money donated for vets and instead their CEO has a paycheck of close a half million dollars and he thinks he deserves that for running this organization. As a vet myself, I think that this is shameful and greedy on that CEO’s part. That money is meant to help those guys that have put their asses on the line so morons like that CEO can have the freedom he enjoys now. But not the freedom to steal money from the men and women that protect his freedom. I can see a modest amount spent by these types of programs for administrative costs, but not lavish parties and large yearly salaries for program administrators that steals the needed assistance from these vets that have come back with mental and physical wounds. All of these vet assistance programs should be scrutinized and held accountable to the vets in getting them the proper help that they need to get better and heal. Our great government needs to go further with the vet programs and help these guys and gals when they come back into the US from their service. The government had them do a service for this country and they need to do more on their return from service.

  • J says:

    They did some great things in the beginning. I myself was a member and still get emails for events 1000 miles away for the Alumni member only. Oh and all expenses are on the Veteran. We stopped donating, and I recommend to others that their donations would be more beneficial to Homeless Veterans etc. Magazine features the same Veterans every time. Their moral compass is off 180* because of the money. The only people they help are themselves!

  • David Fleury says:

    This guy gets a salary that is greater than the President of the United States. Tell me how do you justify that his job is more important and more demanding that that of the POTUS.

  • Ken Bachmeier says:

    This has been going on for years, and it’s been on YouTube and Facebook, from Vets and volunteers, to employees who got FIRED for complaining about WASTE. This DIDN’T JUST HAPPEN OVERNIGHT!!! And the BOARD KNEW ABOUT IT!!!! When PEOPLE QUIT DONATING, is WHEN the BOARD FINALLY DID SOMETHING!!!

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