"We've come today to speak with one voice ... we want the public to know what's going on in regards to the fund," Tom Teves, the father of slain Alex Teves, said Tuesday morning.
According to the victims' families in a press conference, they allege GivingFirst.org did not disburse funds to the victims' families, but instead sent the money to local nonprofits. Forty days after the tragedy, GivingFirst.org has collected $5 million.
"Despite the lack of communication, we continued to work towards protecting the victims," Teves said.
GivingFirst.org is a branch of Community First Foundation. Its CEO, Marla Williams says when the fund was established following the shooting, GivingFirst.org promised donors it would work with non-profits which are experts in dealing with victims of crimes.
Williams says she doesn't plan to go back on that promise. She says the non-profits they have chosen to work with are much more qualified to determine the need of victims than her organization.
"I'm sorry that there's been this much confusion, misunderstanding or disagreement around this fund. We feel the process makes sense," Williams said.
When they noticed this happening, the victims' committee decided the only way to gain a voice was to hold a press conference on Aug. 24. The Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance reportedly asked the victims' committee to delay the press conference so COVA could have a meeting with them. COVA supposedly also admitted to the victims and families that COVA and GivingFirst.org were not doing well communicating with the victims' families.
On Aug. 24, COVA sent out an email to the victims.
"Finally, we thought, after four weeks, the communication was started," Teves said.
The victims say, in the email, COVA had set up a committee to oversee the disbursement of the funds. The families hoped they can still meet with COVA and GivingFirst.org to create an "open dialogue" between the organizations.
"I challenge [everyone] to put this all behind us, and let's get to work helping all of the victims collaboratively," Teves said on Tuesday.
The families hoped there would be an audit trail and complete transparency in the donations to make sure the victims and families get the funds.
"The recently-formed committee [in COVA] has no ... victims on the committee; the victims have no voice at all," Teves said angrily. "Fighting for justice is not easy for us because we are doing it at a time in our lives [when we're in] extreme pain."
The families mentioned on Tuesday they have many ideas and solutions that they would like to be heard. However, they feel their input is falling on deaf ears.
After alleged these things, the families turned towards Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and encouraged him to take action.
"Governor Hickenlooper, you came and grieved with our families," Teves recalled. "You pledged 12 times that 'We will remember.' Are you man who's true to his word, or were they just words?"
SEE HOW THE GOVERNOR RESPONDED TO THE CALL OUT BY THE VICTIMS' FAMILIES
The victims say they have knowledge that is unique and should be utilized in the organization. The families hope victims and family members will be allowed on the committee that's overseeing the funds.
"We have nothing to gain," Teves said. "We have already lost everything. Evil started this, good has to finish it. It's time to pick a side. This is not a political race, this is the human race, and people are hurting."
The victims went through a list of people who need help, such as people who are scarred not only physically but emotionally, too.
Emotions got higher as the press conference went on.
"I'm sure [the donation organizations are] good people, but we haven't seen that yet," Teves mentioned.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)