The Los Angles Times has reported on the email Weinstein sent to an AHF staff member in November 2012, which revealed that Weinstein wanted to “go after” L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and other county officials through the courts.
“It is time to take the gloves off,” Weinstein wrote.
We need to go after Zev [Yaroslavsky] directly and hard. He is the real power behind our problems with the County on porn, the audit and fee-for-service. Plus he is a lame duck and an arrogant jerk. His Berman-Waxman power base is dead and he and others need to be taught a lesson. The voters are with us.
Weinstein went on to say that the organization should call for county Public Health Director Jonathan Fielding, and Mario Perez, the head of its STD programs, to step down.
This needs to be coordinated with our legal strategy. I want to go to court much sooner than later. I am tired of us being on defense. We have little to lose considering how unreasonable they have been.
Then, in a lawsuit filed one month later, the foundation accused Los Angeles County officials of using audits of the nonprofit’s contracts to retaliate against it for criticizing the county and advocating for policies county leaders opposed.
AHF and L.A. County have tangled repeatedly over contract and billing disputes, questions about patient care and Measure B — the constitutionally suspect initiative bankrolled by AHF in 2012 to require adult film performers to wear condoms.
This week, the U.S. District Court of Central California threw out AHF’s retaliation lawsuit, issuing a stinging ruling that read, in part,
Rather than a sincere attempt to vindicate their First Amendment rights, the court fears [AHF] instituted this action in an effort to obtain a tactical advantage in their ongoing political battles with [the county] and obtain leverage.
Yaroslavsky said in an interview Wednesday that the ruling was a “complete vindication” of the county’s position. And he seized the opportunity to say what he thinks of Weinstein.
“Contrary to some high-minded First Amendment motivation, he’s shown to be a thug,” the supervisor said of Weinstein. “He’s used his nonprofit organization in a crass and bullying political way to get his way, which is to avoid being held accountable.”
The AHF lawsuit arose out of an audit in which the county claimed the foundation had overcharged the county by $1.7 million for its AIDS services by billing the county for costs that should have been allocated to other funding sources. The judge did not address which side was correct about the billing issue, but noted that the county has the right to audit its contractors.
Weinstein, in typical bit of misdirection, said that regardless of who was billed for the costs, all of the money was spent serving patients. He defended the organization’s political tactics.
Weinstein indicated AHF will appeal the ruling and continue fighting on the retaliation issue in an ongoing lawsuit in state court over similar allegations.
L.A. County is also fighting yet another costly lawsuit by AHF alleging that the county improperly awarded sole source contracts to other health service providers.