Wounded Warrior Project fires CEO/COO, institutes policy changes

Story by Craig Nyhus

Photo by Wounded Warrior Project

After publicity alleging lavish spending by executives and employees and the loss of fundraising support from many contributors, the Board of Directors of The Wounded Warrior Project fired Chief Executive Officer Steve Nardizzi and Chief Operating Officer Al Giordano.

The Board had hired external counsel and forensic accountants to conduct an independent review of financial and other records, along with interviews of former and existing employees and directors.

In a press release, WWP said its most recent audited financial statement indicates that WWP spends 80.6 percent of donations on programing, based on the use of “joint cost allocation services” that WWP uses to calculate its program spending, stating that of the $26 million spent on conferences and events between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014, approximately 94 percent was associated with program services delivered to wounded warriors.

WWP claimed some media reports were inaccurate, including reports that the 2014 All-Hands held at the Broadmoor Resort cost the group $3 million. According to WWP, the amount was approximately $970,000, but noted such events will be curtailed in the future.

The WWP Board, based on the independent review, found that WWP continues to advance its mission of providing substantial services for the nation’s wounded warriors, noting that from 2010 to 2015, participation across WWP’s many programs increased from approximately 1,850 wounded warriors to more than 144,000 wounded warriors.

WWP said employee travel and employee-expense policies are being strengthened, along with other policy changes, stating:

“To best effectuate these changes and help restore trust in the organization among all of the constituencies WWP serves, the Board determined the organization would benefit from new leadership.”

Board chairman, retired Army captain Anthony Odierno is Interim Chief Executive. The group’s founder, John Melia, who left after a 2009 dispute with Nardizzi and Giordano, said he would be interested in returning.

Based on this independent review, the WWP Board found that WWP continues to advance its mission of providing substantial services for the nation’s wounded warriors, and that certain allegations raised in media reports were inaccurate

From 2010 to 2015, participation across WWP’s many programs increased from approximately 1,850 wounded warriors to more than 144,000 wounded warriors.

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