Published November 29, 2015
Survivors and families of victims of the Aurora, Colo., movie massacre are demanding that the more than $5 million raised in donations go directly to them and not to nonprofit groups.
Some of the money collected from the Aurora Victim Relief Fund has been doled out to families of the 12 killed and to the 58 injured in the July 20 shooting, which came during a midnight showing of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises." But some of the parties came forward on Tuesday with claims that the money was not going to those it was promised to.
"We are here because we want the public to know what's been going on behind the scenes," Tom Teves, whose son Alex was killed and who now serves as a spokesman for a group of families. “I am certain that the public intended 100 percent of those donations to go to the families of victims, and to use that money to help the healing process. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case."
Teves added that of the more than $5 million collected, the first payout went to non-profit groups. He said families were told that no money would go directly to victims — a stark contrast from what they were originally told.
On Aug. 17, The 7/20 Recovery Committee, a group of government officials and community organizations tasked with distributing the remaining $4.6 million, said it had distributed $350,000 through the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance to those affected by the shooting. That money was delivered in $5,000 checks to 70 victims, according to the Denver Post.
COVA has sent some families a check for $5,000, but not all, including Teves.
"We shouldn't have to beg to get a little voice," he said. "They used our children's pictures, our dead children's pictures."
Tevas added that COVA sent out money from the funds without seeking input from the victims and their families.
The group has asked for a more transparent process in the fund distribution.
"What we are demanding is a robust voice in how this is implemented," Teves said. "The victims have no voice in this at all."