March 11, 2016

A CBS Evening News report on extravagant spending and overhead has led directly to the firing of the top officers of the largest veterans charity.

CBS correspondent Chip Reid disclosed Thursday night how the board of directors canned the CEO and chief operating officer of the Wounded Warrior Project. That followed disclosures by CBS that the charity spends 40 to 50 percent on overhead, including lavish employee conferences. In 2014, such spending amounted to $26 million, it reported.

Reid and investigative producer Jennifer Janisch broke the first in a series of stories on Jan. 26. They noted how Americans donate hundreds of millions of dollars to the charity annually, assuming it’s targeted to assist some of the estimated 52,000 wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Instead, a clearly disproportionate amount is spent on matters not directly related to helping them. Other veterans charities have overhead costs of 10 to 15 percent, CBS reported.

The board bounced CEO Steven Nardizzi and COO Al Giordano. Reid told anchor Scott Pelley during his report Thursday that the board will inspect an audit of finances and is considering replacements for the two executives.

Nardizzi took over in 2009. He’s defended the spending but obviously to no avail, with many donors furious with word of the huge overhead on functions such as golf tournaments. The publicity resulting from the CBS series set in motion the rapid changes.

The disclosures by CBS were a source of pride internally. But they also came amid the lavish coverage CBS and others have given the presidential campaign, especially GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

But even if the exposé was generally lost amid other apparent news priorities, it clearly made an impact in the veterans community and on those overseeing the Warrior Wound Project.

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New York City native, graduate of Collegiate School, Amherst College and Roosevelt University. Married to Cornelia Grumman, dad of Blair and Eliot. National columnist, U.S.…
James Warren

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