I completed this article in 2017 after an exclusive interview with the co-founder of the Wounded Warrior Project, Al Giordano. It should serve as a reminder of how “fake news” put out by MSM does in fact hurt people, and in this case, countless wounded veterans.
The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) has been helping injured veterans since its inception in 2003, 2 years after the deadly terror attacks that rocked the nation on 9-11. Since the time of its founding, the organization became the #1 veterans charity in the world. This year, WWP surpassed the 100,000 mark in terms of veterans they provide assistance to. Work the Wounded Warrior Project does has seen billions of dollars go to help severely injured veterans, and that doesn’t even include the charity’s day to day operations.
Who has WWP helped? Veterans like Army Captain Gregory Galeazzi. Galeazzi lost both of his legs in Afghanistan in 2011. His right arm was severely injured, also. The WWP came to his aid by pledging to pay for advanced prosthetics training, and helped boost his morale by buying him tickets to New England Patriots games, and connected him with music teachers who helped him learn to play guitar despite his arm being so critically damaged.
When reports surfaced about possible WWP’s misuse of donor funds last year, Galeazzi told the Military Times, “I’m worried that whole safety net isn’t going to be there anymore. I’ve got a standing offer from them to help with advanced prosthetics training, whenever I’m ready they’ll cover the costs. You don’t know what it’s like to have that kind of safety net and cushion if you need it.” Galeazzi went on,
“Those are things that people may see the costs, but it’s something you really can’t put a value on. Most people can’t see my experiences and what the group has meant. But they can see a two-minute news report that shits on the whole organization.”
I was in contact with Captain Galeazzi via email and he thanked me for taking on this story so as to vindicate those in the WWP who have been hurt by the allegations of wrongdoing.
The Wounded Warrior Project doesn’t just help those who have been injured on the battlefield, but also those wounded in other ways. Jennifer Norris was a Technical Sergeant in the Air Force. She retired in 2011 due to PTSD caused by a sexual assault. She spoke glowingly of WWP on her site after attending a series of events designed to assist those with PTSD caused by military sexual trauma:
“Wounded Warrior Project has been a godsend in my life. It started with the first program I attended about a year ago and has only continued to get better. This month I attended the WWP Physical Health and Wellness Expo at the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Florida. I absolutely loved everything about what I learned at this place. I had done a ton of research the year prior trying to rebuild my life after the injuries I sustained in the military and was so relieved to learn that I was on the right track. The trainers were professional and helped simplify what is a very overwhelming process if you try to learn about physical heath and wellness on-line.”
Norris continued: “Wounded Warrior Project is definitely investing in veterans with both physical and mental wounds. The programs offered by WWP are a nice compliment to what the VA is currently doing but WWP is taking it a step further. WWP “takes a holistic approach when serving warriors and their families to nurture the mind and body, and encourage economic empowerment and engagement.”
These heroes and tens of thousands of others have two things in common. They fought selflessly to defend their country, and, upon their return to the states, the Wounded Warrior Project generously provided them with the support they needed to adjust to civilian life.
After being attacked by the New York Times and CBS News last year, the charity has fallen on hard times, and many severely wounded veterans are no longer receiving assistance. But now the truth has come out. The reports by the Times and CBS that Wounded Warrior Project was misusing funds has been completely debunked. Not only were tens of thousands of wounded veterans harmed by the lies maliciously told about WWP, but two of the founding members were fired by the board of directors, and now they’re speaking out.
I spoke exclusively to Al Giordano, a Marine vet & co-founder and former Chief Operating Officer of WWP. In 2009 Steve Nardizzi, another co-founder, became CEO of WWP. Both have been credited with building the Wounded Warrior Project into a charity powerhouse for injured veterans. That’s when MSM began running fake news about the organization.
On Wednesday, January 27, 2016, the New York Times ran a story based on the testimonies of several employees of WWP who were disgruntled over their termination from the charity. The former employees who had been fired had created a private Facebook page with which to communicate with one another. There they plotted to take down Wounded Warrior Project, and the New York Times was more than eager to help.
Giordano steered me to Professor Doug White, an author, recognized expert on charities, and former Director of the Masters of Science in Fundraising Management program at Columbia University. Professor White became aware of the hit piece done by the New York Times and compiled a 79-page independent report on the matter.
White pointed out in his independent report that the Facebook group included Len Stachitis, Executive Vice President of Strategic Giving of WWP. Stachitis was terminated for covering up the theft of donor dollars from his direct reports including Teresa Nichols, Manager of Major gifts, another member of the Facebook group.
Dave Philipps, a reporter for the Times, had been contacted by the group of fired WWP employees in June of 2015. Giordano relayed to us that while some former employees spoke glowingly about what WWP had done for them personally, they lied about how the charity was being managed. They had a score to settle. And Philipps ate it up.
Nothing good that Philipps was told about WWP made it into his final article for the New York Times.
What did Philipps leave out of his hit piece?
- That employees told him that WWP saved their lives and even their marriages.
- That Dan Nevins, an Army vet who lost both of his legs in Iraq literally cried about what WWP had done for him. Philipps laughed about it.
- That WWP had awesome morale and the lowest employee turnover for any charity – half the industry standard.
- That WWP had been voted the best non-profit to work for 3 years in a row – Philipps said it was worst.
- That WWP set up a private health care network with $70 million over three years to 4 hospitals for injured veterans to receive free mental health counseling.
- That WWP set up a Trust Fund with $100 million to take care of veterans whose parents couldn’t so they wouldn’t have to have the government put them into nursing homes.
- That Al Giordano and Steve Nardizzi got rave reviews from the WWP Board of Directors for how they did their jobs… Every. Single. Year.
A third party company was even brought in to do the internal polling in order to avoid the possibility of employees feeling “pressured” to rate their bosses in a favorable light.
None of these things made it into the New York Times’ hit piece on the Wounded Warrior Project. Everything that was perceived to be negative about the charity, even the lies the disgruntled, fired employees told Philipps, made the cut, though. Imagine that.
The biggest lie told about Wounded Warrior Project? That they only spent 60 cents of every dollar donated for wounded veterans.
The New York Times cited a report from charity auditor “Charity Navigator” that WWP spent “lavishly” on executives & administration rather than on vets. It turns out, the reporting was completely bogus, and just recently, WWP was afforded a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator, it’s top rating, for the fiscal year 2015. Of course, for the New York Times, the story is all that matters, regardless of who is hurt if the story is 100% BS.
Wounded Warrior Project’s past finances were audited by FTI consulting and the Better Business Bureau. They found that there was NO “lavish spending” on the part of WWP and that the charity, in fact, gave 81% of contributions to injured vets.
Professor White explained in his report how the inaccurate reporting came about. His conclusions are damning – for the Fake News New York Times that is. In his report, he states that:
“Many of the allegations made in the CBS News and The New York Times reports were either wrong or misleading. Both news organizations relied too heavily on too few on the record to generate reports that would have such a damning impact on a charitable organization and those it serves. Each organization should run an apology story.
Chief Executive Officer Steve Nardizzi and Chief Operations Officer Al Giordano, Wounded Warrior Project’s two top executives before they were fired after a financial review was conducted in response to the media allegations – a review that stunningly did not result in a written report – were overseeing a modern, national charity. Each, by any standard, result, or metric, performed well. The finances were sound and WWP’s impact was strong.
In terms of helping veterans, their families, and their caregivers, there was a constant and growing level of success. The ex-employees who complained were naïve to think that any single expenditure meant the organization was wasting money. The complaints were not based on an overall understanding of how the organization worked or how charitable organizations generally work.”
Today, Steve Nardizzi and Al Giordano have been vindicated as over 300 media outlets have so far carried the story that WWP was in fact NOT misusing donor funds. Nardizzi and Giordano were fired because of FAKE news put out by the New York Times, and by CBS News (I’ll have an exclusive follow-up story on CBS News’ stunning part in the take-down soon, also).
The disgusting thing about all of this? Despite being proven wrong, neither the New York Times nor CBS will publish a retraction of their false stories. The Wounded Warrior Project is on schedule to lose $300 million in donor funds since the fake news stories came out. This has devastated WWP and its ability to help more wounded veterans, according to Giordano. Countless veterans have been affected.
Even the uber-liberal Washington Post reported on WWP being cleared of any wrongdoing under Nardizzi & Giordano.
“After months of investigation, the Better Business Bureau has cleared the Wounded Warrior Project, one of the nation’s largest veterans charities, of ‘lavish spending,’ and gave the nonprofit organization its seal of approval. The bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance report found that Warrior Project spending has been “consistent with its programs and missions.””
The devastating effects of the New York Times’ Fake News on the WWP will be felt by wounded veterans for years. Retired Army lieutenant general Mike Linnington, the current CEO of WWP explained to the Florida Times that:
“I am concerned that we don’t have the ability to fuel the mission. In terms of impact, the sad tragedy of the last year is programs and warriors were negatively affected by inaccurate or grossly exaggerated reporting. That is what is very concerning.”
The Wounded Warrior Project was built into the world’s premiere veterans charity with one goal in mind – to do all they could to assist our heroes wounded in battle or while in service to their country. They have affected countless lives. The New York Times, with its disgusting, vile, purposeful ignoring of the facts, did more damage to wounded veterans than any war could. And they should f-cking pay for it.
Watch for my upcoming exclusive story on how CBS News sought to bring down WWP & hurt wounded American veterans. We’ll be interviewing the former CEO of WWP who was fired when MSM published the FAKE NEWS about the charity.
Share this if you think the New York Times should pay for WWP’s losses and the founding members should get their jobs back!