A July compliance review and audit of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) carried out by the Los Angeles County Department of Auditor-Controller finds — once again — the nonprofit overbilled the County Department of Public Health for services.
The county has asserted since 2012 that AHF misdirected money marked for clients primarily covered under the Ryan White Act for patients covered by Medicare, MediCal or other providers.
The County wants AHF to repay the improperly charged $3,558,080 and be added to the County’s Contractor Alert Reporting Database. AHF claims this use of funds has, historically, never attracted criticism from Los Angeles County, and maintains that the audit was conducted in retaliation its criticism of the County.
In their formal response, AHF said the audit corresponded with public criticism of the County’s handling of risk of sexually transmitted diseases in the adult film industry and “unlawful practice of awarding contracts without public bidding.”
When contacted for comment, AHF provided the following statement from President Michael Weinstein: “This is but another chapter in a decades-long battle with the County. Same battle, different year. We have sued, and the court will make the final decision. However, AHF spends $18 million more than we receive from any government grants or reimbursements to fund clinical care throughout the U.S.”
In February 2013, a federal court threw out an AHF lawsuit that accused Los Angeles County of retaliating against the group for criticizing its public health programs and policies. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky called the ruling was a “complete vindication” of the county’s position. Of Weinstein, he said:
Contrary to some high-minded First Amendment motivation, he’s shown to be a thug. He’s used his nonprofit organization in a crass and bullying political way to get his way, which is to avoid being held accountable.
AHF then re-filed in Los Angeles Superior Court that August.
As reported yesterday at TRPWL, AHF also recently filed a lawsuit in federal court against the City and County of San Francisco and San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener.