One of the most well-known military veteran organizations, the Wounded Warrior Project, is going through a leadership shake up, after its two top executives were fired for the way they handled veteran donations.
CBS news first broke the story and continued to investigate the proportions of donations that were used for veteran services. Board members fired CEO Steven Nardizzi and Chief Operating Officer Al Giordano.
Commercials for the Wounded Warrior Project are widely circulated, appealing to patriotism and asking for donations to help wounded veterans.
According to Wounded Warriors Project's own tax documents, about 40 percent of the donations that come in go to private events, meetings and executive travel.
"It makes me angry, it’s upsetting to see an organization take so much money away from veterans who need it,” said former Army Sgt. James Brashear, now an officer at Veterans of Foreign Wars in West Sacramento, another organization that provides services for veterans. Brashear says sadly the news didn’t come as a shock.
"Any organization that comes out and says they’re going to do great things for veterans without any proof of ever doing anything for veterans, I'm skeptical,” said Brashear.
"It is a big disappointment,” said Aaron Hutchinson, the director of the Wounded Veteran Run, an annual 5K race that's raised a quarter-million dollars for veterans groups. At one time, that included the Wounded Warrior Project.
"They're all trying to help people at the end of the day. It's just when expenditures get out of control, they need to be addressed,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson hopes the group will get its act together.
But for Brashear, he says profiting on the backs of wounded veterans is inexcusable.
"It's horrible. You think you're giving your money to help soldiers wounded. It's a break of trust,” said Brashear.
Whatever the organization does, he says it's too little, too late.
FOX40 reached out to both the Wounded Warrior chapter in Northern California, as well as the offices in San Diego and did not hear back.