10 News Investigates: Salem DAV chapter under formal investigations over finances

Concerned calls from viewers sparked our investigation

SALEM, Va. – 10 News is continuing to look into why the Salem chapter of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) was suspended after a viewer called in last week.

“We respect people’s right to know that they’re donating money for a specific cause, and their money is going to that cause,” Adjutant Executive Director of the Virginia DAV Robert Cox said.

Last week, a 10 News viewer called in to express their concern that the Salem chapter of the DAV had been shut down.

After some digging, we found out why.

[Salem DAV chapter suspended, leaving many questioning the future of the program]

We spoke with Robert Cox on Monday, Dec. 4. He’s the Adjutant Executive Director of the Virginia DAV.

Cox said the chapter was suspended after questions regarding finances came to light.

”It is state and national’s responsibility to protect DAV assets, so immediately red flags went up for the department,” he said.

They soon discovered Salem’s chapter had not submitted important financial documents about fundraising and expenses in three years.

”The paperwork wasn’t submitted and that paperwork is important because that tells us whether their fundraising projects are making a profit,” Cox said.

The chapter received a notice from the Virginia DAV at the end of October, notifying them of their suspension and informing them they are now under a formal internal investigation.

”We have received and reviewed documents that are highly disturbing. The documents suggest possible financial improprieties, fraud, and misuse of funds,” Cox said.

The chapter can only hold meetings to discuss how to get off of suspension, but so far all the state chapter has received is a letter asking if they can bypass suspension.

Cox said after meeting with the chapter’s accountants, there are many gaps in information.

”The chapter has to abide by the bylaws, abide by the letter of suspension, and abide by the letter saying there was going to be a formal investigation,” Cox said.

As of right now, the Salem chapter’s suspension will remain until the internal investigation is complete, and a further decision is made.

A “Save the DAV” rally will be held at the center on Dec. 11, with the hopes of getting it back open to support the community.

While the Salem DAV chapter is closed for the time being, you can find a list of other resources in the area below:

If you would like to share your story about the DAV with 10 News, email Abbie Coleman at acoleman@wsls.com.

About the Author:

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.