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Local soldier calls Wounded Warrior Project scandal ‘old news’

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COVENTRY--Scandal in the top ranks of Wounded Warrior Project has local wounded veterans talking.

The CEO and the COO of the charity are gone following a CBS News investigation claiming the organization splurged on lavish conferences at luxury resorts.

The report found that Wounded Warrior Project spent 40 to 50 percent of the hundreds of millions of dollars donated to it on overhead. Overhead costs at other veteran charities are 10 to 15 percent.

One Coventry Army veteran who was seriously wounded in Afghanistan called the report "old news." Micah Welintukonis, 39, said he and many other injured veterans suspected Wounded Warrior of misconduct a long time ago.

"Firing is the first step, I mean these people need to be prosecuted," Welintukonis said.

On the homepage of Wounded Warrior Project's website, the charity posted a statement following the damaging report. It claims it conducted its own internal audit and found that certain allegations in the report were wrong.

On Friday, the man who started the Wounded Warrior Project in 2003 told the Associated Press that he would consider returning to lead his charity during this time of turmoil.

John Melia, a Marine veteran who was injured in a helicopter crash off Somalia, said that he's called an "immediate" meeting with the nonprofit's board of directors and plans to offer his help.

Melia says donors who supported the group since its humble beginning "have every right to be angry about the lack of stewardship shown by the immediate past leadership of WWP," and "the new leadership of the WWP must do everything in its power to restore its relationship and regain the trust of those it serves and its donors."

With additional reporting by the Associated Press.