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Families of Aurora shooting victims feel neglected by relief charity

Published: Friday, Aug. 31 2012 5:04 p.m. MDT

Tom Teves, at podium, group spokesman of the families of the victims of the Colorado theatre shooting, speaks during a press conference in Aurora, Colo., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. Families of some of the 12 people killed in the Colorado theater shooting are upset with the way the millions of dollars raised since the tragedy are being distributed. (AP Photo/Chris Schneider)

Associated Press

A representative for the majority of the victims of the Colorado theater shooting said Tuesday the families are not satisfied with the Aurora Victims Relief Fund's decisions and management regarding relief aid.

"We need people who were in the theater, together with those who have lost loved ones, driving these decisions," said Tom Teves, father of shooting victim Alex Teves, in a CNN article.

"At a sometimes-emotional news conference, Teves read a seven-page statement demanding the fundraisers give the victims and their families a say in how the money is used and questioning why so far only a relatively small portion, $350,000, was being distributed to the victims," reported the Associated Press.

The Community First Foundation was chosen by Colorado Gov John Hickenlooper to oversee the Aurora Victims Relief Fund. The fund has received at least $5 million in donations so far, according to reports, but family members say they are not receiving enough money to cover the expenses associated with grieving.

"We want the public to know what has been going on behind the scenes regarding the funds being raised," Teves said in a CBS news article. "To date, we have seen limited victim assistance due to a vacuum of communication and leadership."

In addition to not receiving adequate assistance, the families also feel that their concerns are not being properly addressed and that fundraisers were unresponsive to their questions and suggestions, according to the Associated Press.

"We're certain that everyone who donated their hard-earned wages intended for 100 percent of the donations to go directly to the victims and then each family affected would use those funds for what they most needed to help their healing process," Teves told reporters. "Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case."

It remains to be seen if the efforts of the family members will effect change.

"Hickenlooper’s spokesman, Eric Brown, said the governor understands the families’ frustration and is advocating for them to have more say," according to the Associated Press. "He said Hickenlooper also wants the fundraisers to improve their communication with the families."

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