Dispute Over Funds For Aurora Victim Complicates Recovery
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AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – One of the more seriously injured survivors of the Aurora movie theater shootings is thankful to be alive but also saddened by a family fued that has emerged over fundraising efforts.
The dispute involves the family of Farrah Soudani, whose parents say they have filed a fraud complaint with the Colorado attorney general’s office. The complaint is against their son and a cousin.
It’s been a long road back to normalcy since the July 20 shooting for Soudani. She has finally left the hospital and is now staying with a friend.
Soudani, 22, was one of several people who worked at a Red Robin restaurant in Aurora who went to see the midnight movie at the theater where the mass shooting happened.
One of the other Red Robin employees was Alex Sullivan, who was killed. Several others were also wounded.
Soudani told CBS4 she feels fortunate she made it out alive.
“With all the people that lost their life, that suffered permanent damages including my friend Alex who lost his life … I want to keep going for him,” Soudani said.
When the gunman opened fire she was severely injured on her stomach, side and leg after being hit by flying shrapnel. She was rushed to University of Colorado Hospital in a police car.
“If it wasn’t for those officers I would not have made it,” Soudani said. “Doctors said I was in a couple minutes of dying.”
Soudani lost a kidney, spleen and had reconstructive surgery to her leg. Among her visitors at the hospital was President Barack Obama.
Tens of thousands of dollars have been raised in Soudani’s name, but not without a bitter family fight.
Soudani’s brother Jordan started one of two funds for Farrah with a cousin, but it’s now being folded and the money is being refunded.
“My concern is primarily that the funds will not go exclusively into a trust created for Farrah and solely for her benefit,” said Jordan Soudani in an interview with CBS4 on Aug. 17.
Soudani’s parents filed their complaint with the attorney general about it because they say no one who was supposed to has been aided by the fund.
“Unfornately we haven’t seen, or Farrah hasn’t seen, one penny of that money,” Sam Soudani said.
“It’s so ugly and so unnecesary,” Heidi Soudani said.
For Soudani, who doesn’t have health insurance and whose medical bills are mounting, the recovery has been more than just physical.
“The hardest part is it being my closest family that has to deal with the negative side of the situation,” Farrah Soudani said.
Jordan Soudani and his cousin have indicated to CBS4 all the money raised in their fund has been or is being returned, and they welcome an investigation by the Colorado attorney general.