Aurora Theater Shooting

Aurora theater shooting: Rich Audsley, donation adviser, reflects on funds for past massacres

Page 2 of 2

We spoke with Audsley earlier this month in response to concerns from family members said they were still getting nowhere with donations during a lengthy press conference. Their main complaints: Families of the twelve deceased victims and dozens more injured did not have a strong voice in the process, which was dragging on without much transparency.

Last week, in response to some of those concerns, Governor John Hickenlooper, joined by Audsley, announced that the committee charged with disbursing the funds would bring on Ken Feinberg, who also has extensive experience in mass tragedy funds, to act as a special master for the Aurora shooting donations.

This last-minute announcement came after the families held another press conference expressing their dismay with the 7/20 Recovery Committee, an ad hoc group of mainly Aurora officials overseeing the funds. Feinberg, who was involved in 9/11 and BP oil spill efforts, told reporters he expects the controversy and frustration to continue -- and that it comes with the territory.

Audsley, who has become a main spokesman for the 7/20 Committee, expresses similar sentiments.

When we spoke to him, we also asked for his reflections on how this process compares to past negotiations he's been involved with -- and he says that while each situation is different, there are some commonalities.

"My experience with these kinds of funds is you can never act fast enough," said Audsley, who worked for United Way for thirty years in roles that included a vice president position. "There's always pressure to get it done as fast as possible. However, you need to be thoughtful in the way that you go about making these decisions."

He explained that the complex process requires time. "You can never do this fast enough to satisfy the individuals that are looking to be compensated.... Despite that, you only have one chance to do that...and you have to make sure you have all the information...even if it creates controversy that you're moving too slow."

Continue reading for more comments from Audsley.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sam Levin
Contact: Sam Levin