Wounded Warrior Project Fires Top 2 Executives After Reports Of Lavish Spending
After media reports charged massive overspending and waste by the Wounded Warrior Project, the organization's board of directors fired its CEO and chief operation officer Thursday. The charity has received hundreds of millions of dollars in yearly donations.
"CEO Steve Nardizzi and COO Al Giordano are no longer with the organization," the charity announced in a news release that also reported the results of an independent review of its finances — a review that was prompted by a series of CBS News reports that said the Wounded Warrior Project uses some 40 percent of its funds on overhead expenses and pays millions of dollars for staff conferences and meetings in luxurious settings.
This week, the group has been using its Facebook page to defend its fundraising costs and to say that it "has always been an open and transparent organization," citing its most recent IRS filing as proof.
That filing, IRS form 990, shows that in the financial year from Oct. 1, 2013, to Sept. 30, 2014, the WWP reported spending $26 million on "conferences, conventions, and meetings."
The group's 990 form also reported the salaries of the now-departed executives, with Nardizzi being paid more than $496,000 and Giordano more than $397,000.
"Former employees say spending has skyrocketed since Steven Nardizzi took over as CEO in 2009," CBS News reported. "Many point to the 2014 annual meeting at a luxury resort in Colorado Springs as typical of his style."
The report quoted a former employee saying Nardizzi "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."