Pallotta Teamworks Sues AIDS Agencies Over Competing California Bicycle Event
The Associated Press reports that Pallotta TeamWorks, the for-profit promotion company that has organized the California AIDSRide for seven years, in an ongoing dispute is suing the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center for organizing a competing bicycle event next summer. Pallotta has raised more than $40 million since 1994 for HIV/AIDS groups through the ride, which is a week-long, 575-mile event between San Francisco and Los Angeles. SFAF depends on the annual ride for about 25% of its yearly $24 million operating budget. However, SFAF and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center pulled out of next year's AIDSRide, citing decreasing returns, and announced the creation of their own ride, AIDS/LifeCycle. According to the two groups, Pallotta has "mismanaged" the event and increased overhead costs so that the not-for-profit groups received only 50 cents of every dollar raised in this year's ride. Guidelines from the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance say that expenses for charitable events should not exceed 35 cents per dollar. "We understand it's an expensive event to produce. Our concern is that it's costing more now than in the past," Bonnie Osborn, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, said. Costs per rider increased to $3,022 this year from $2,373 in 2000. Pallotta spokesperson Norm Bowling acknowledged that this year's ride ran "8% or 9%" over budget, but said that the AIDSRide has a "great track record" overall. Pallotta has filed a lawsuit against the groups because their contract with Pallotta "specifically prohibits" them from organizing a bike event. "They can do any kind of fundraising event they want other than the California AIDSRide," Bowling said, adding that a competing event would only "divide the community" and decrease funds overall. However, Gwenn Baldwin, executive director of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, said that the route and the "focus and feel" of the new ride will be different from the AIDSRide. "Using bicycles to fund raise is not a unique concept," Baldwin added. A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for Jan. 14 in Los Angeles (Curtis, Associated Press, 12/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.