Elsewhere online
March 18, 2016

Wounded Warrior Founder Says Charity 'Grew Too Fast'

John Melia, the founder and former head of the Wounded Warrior Project, tells WJXT TV in Jacksonville that the veterans charity "grew too fast" under his successors and "became exactly what we didn’t want it to be become." The former Marine said he wants to return to the nonprofit he launched 13 years ago following the departure last week of Wounded Warrior's top two officials.

The charity's board fired Steven Nardizzi and Al Giordano — the chief executive and chief operating officer, respectively, whom Mr. Melia recruited to join the organization — amid allegations of lavish spending on travel, conferences, and executive pay. Mr. Melia left Wounded Warrior in 2009 in a dispute with the new leaders, whom he accused of becoming motivated by personal gain and writing him out of the charity's history as they built Wounded Warrior into a fundraising juggernaut.

Read a Chronicle of Philanthropy article on veterans charities looking to distance themselves from the Wounded Warrior Project.