Misuse of Company Money Creates Tension: Wounded Warrior Project Loses Civilian Support
Recently, the veteran charity service organization, Wounded Warrior Project, has received a lot of negative criticism about the way they have been spending their donations.
Founders John and Jim Melia admit to these allegations and are trying to restore the trust in the charity.
“I think the executive leadership of the project lost it’s soul,” said Jim Melia.
The Melia brothers left the organization in 2010 to what they believed to be in trustworthy hands. Amid allegations the Melia brothers are making efforts to regain the helm of the company by reaching out to the head of the board and Facebook petitions.
Despite these efforts, the two have not heard back from the board and have even been banned from posting on the Wounded Warrior Project’s Facebook page.
In efforts to regain trust, Wounded Warrior Project has terminated the company’s CEO and COO however, veteran recipients are still worried about the authenticity of the company. Wounded Warrior Project learned the hard way that trust can be lost rather quickly but it takes tremendous effort to restore fully.
The misuse of the company’s budget came into light last January after investigators accused former and current staff members of spending money on personal assets and holding unnecessary parties. Some of these parties included staff meetings at high-end hotels and company executives making appearances on horseback.
“This is why veterans lost confidence in Wounded Warrior Project,” said Melia.
However, many still choose to stand by Wounded Warrior Project.
“It terrifies me to think that because of what’s going on — that people would stop supporting them,” said Colleen Saffron, whose husband, retired Staff Sgt. Terry Saffron, was injured by an explosion in Iraq in 2004.
The Wounded Warrior project funded medical bills to rebuild the sergeant’s face and jaw. The sergeant also suffered irreversible brain injuries but Wounded Warrior Project has provided a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, as well as a life skills coach.
“I wish I could get people to understand how important that program is to our lives,” said Saffron.
According to Charity Navigator, which is an independent charity evaluator, Wounded Warrior Project received a 96 out of 100 for their accountability and transparency.
Moreover, WWP hired an independent financial advisory company, BDO, to maintain a high level of accountability. BDO stated that all of their audits “ended in accordance, with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.”