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May 16th, 2012
04:55 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Drew Griffin speaks with Disabled Veterans National Foundation charity board member

AC360's Drew Griffin has been investigating a national charity that collected $56 million for disabled veterans. Those donations were intended for service members and their families, but IRS documents show that very little of the money has been directly given to those the organization promised to help.

Instead, the Disabled Veterans National Foundation has spent tens of millions on marketing services. CNN spoke to the head of a local veteran aid group that received candy, small bottles of hand sanitizer and other unnecessary items - but no funds. Another small organization was sent hundreds of chefs coats and aprons, along with a needlepoint design pillowcase and cans of acrylic paint.

CNN has tried for more than a year to speak with the president of DVNF, Precilla Landry Wilkewitz, to find out what happened to the money they raised. Griffin went to her home but she declined an interview.

Today, she was scheduled to give a speech in California, so Griffin went to the event in hopes of getting answers from her. But she canceled her appearance. Instead Griffin talked with another board member, vice president Valerie Conley, at the event. Hear her response tonight on AC360°.

Anderson will also speak with CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin about the story. Do you have questions for him? Submit them in a comment and tune in at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. ron van sweringen

    The answer is simple, hang up the next time your phone rings with a donation request and us the United Way or an orginization you are familiar with. My response is "Sorry we don't take telephone solicitations. By the way, Anserson Cooper is hot!

    May 17, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  2. excoachken

    As a Veteran ('68-70) I too am appalled at this scam. But, it is not the only one. We must not stop donating (sometimes the best gift is your time) with respect to the wonderful gifts that Veterans have given to each and every American and so many overseas.

    May 17, 2012 at 7:38 am |
  3. Olin Ross

    This is the reason I don't give money to any of these so call fundraising groups....

    May 17, 2012 at 4:26 am |
  4. Rygrourl

    Do I assume correctly that someone at CNN has checked carefully to see if there is any connection between principals or other people involved with the DVNF, and principals or other people involved with this private company, Quadriga? In other words, is there an "incestuous" relationship somewhere between them that would immediately shed a bright light on what's been going on?

    May 17, 2012 at 1:26 am |
  5. Dan Buckley

    I am a disabled vet and this story makes me mad. I do not need the help but I hope something can be done for the vets that need the help. I do believe this Foundation was dupped by their marketing org.someone didn't read the contract and now they are stuck for a few years trying to make money but going in circles and making nothing for our vets.
    My question is what can we do and who is going to do it. My only hope is you keep up with this story and keep us informed. This company needs to close there doors and leave the country. I believe they are from the Nederland's

    May 16, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  6. Lenore

    check out Wounded Warriors. They do the same thimg. Look at their financial statements. They collect millions and spend very little on veterans. The donatIons go towards salaries, rent, travel, and rediculous promotional items. The people who run these nonprofitS should be jailed for stealing!

    May 16, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  7. Lia

    I have recently received two calls requesting donations for the Fratenral Order of Police and for Disabled Vets. One or both might have been from this organization. I handled them as follows. I politely requested if the organization I was speaking with was the charity itself or a third party. (Answer: 3rd party.) I then asked how much of the donation went to the actual charity. I was told "I am required by law to tell you that no less than 15% of the donation goes to the charity." I then told them that if I wished to contribute to the charity I would do so directly. End of call.

    May 16, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  8. Andy McCumber

    I appreciate your exposure of this appalling misuse of well intended donations. I'm sure the people who gave from their heart will be shocked and saddened to see that wounded Vets have not seen any significant help from this fundraising campaign. However, I hope you will also clarify that the manufactures that donated products such as Coconut M&Ms and Hand Sanitizers, who are also generous donors, are not included in the well deserved ridicule because of the the fact that their products are the only help that these veterans have seen from this group.

    May 16, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  9. Marco

    Why we don't investigated how many of them write check or transfer money from veterans account to personal or help family members. I think you would be surprise!!!!!

    May 16, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  10. pinjam

    These people should be ashames of themselves.What kind of cars are these people driving and what do there homes look like.That should tell you if they are thieves

    May 16, 2012 at 8:15 pm |