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Wounded Warrior Project receives delayed $80,000 donation

More than $80,000 in leftover funds raised by a local nonprofit for the Wounded Warrior Project last year have been donated to the veterans group, after the Northport American Legion Post 694 accused the group of questionable accounting and delaying the donation.

Rocco Donnino, a founding member of Cow Harbor Warriors, said Monday the group sent an $82,047 check last week to the project. He said the decision followed discussions between his board and representatives of the project, after Post 694's complaints.

The Cow Harbor Warriors had been working to use part of the money to buy a handicapped-accessible van and donate it to the project, Donnino said. The remainder of the money was to be used for an event this fall for wounded veterans, he said.

"Based on the delays on the van donation and the logistics of working within the project," Donnino said, "we decided, with the Wounded Warrior Project, to send a cash donation from 2012 proceeds."

Repeated calls and emails to the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides programs and services to returning severely injured service members, have not been returned.

John Cooney, Post 694 spokesman, said members are glad that the wounded veterans will be getting the money, but that questions remain.

"Our position remains that a full accounting for 2012 must be provided in the form of bank statements, checks and invoices to prove that the funds were available and remained available before this check was sent," he said.

Donnino said his group turned over financial spreadsheets to the town last week.

Post 694 members have been demanding an explanation of how as much as $170,000 raised last year by Cow Harbor Warriors for a September weekend of sports competitions, food and fun for tri-state area veterans in the Wounded Warrior Project and their families was spent. Donnino said after deducting costs for the weekend's activities, management fees and fundraising expenses, the group was left with about $82,000.

Permit applications before the Huntington Town and Northport Village boards submitted by the Cow Harbor Warriors for a similar event for this year have been held up, pending an accounting report satisfactory to Post 694.

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