Florida County Extends Contract With ‘Troubled’ AIDS Agency
Commissioners in Hillsborough County, Fla., voted this week to extend by three months most of their contracts with the Tampa-Hillsborough Action Plan, a "troubled" not-for-profit agency that provides housing and other services to people with HIV/AIDS, the St. Petersburg Times reports. THAP receives approximately $900,000 annually in Ryan White CARE Act funding from the county through eight different contracts. The agency provides housing, transportation and case management assistance to approximately 800 low-income people living with HIV/AIDS in Hillsborough County (Varian, St. Petersburg Times, 3/7). THAP, which has received "millions" from the housing authority for various projects, has come under "harsh scrutiny" over the last year for connections between THAP Director Chet Luney and city housing chief Steve LaBrake and his top aide Lynne McCarter. Luney has admitted to "performing and soliciting favors" to help the two build a "dream home" in South Tampa, leasing one of McCarter's properties so that she could obtain a home loan and having a pool dug at her home for free (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/24/01). James Hammond, founder of THAP, said that his organization has been "unfairly tarred by accusations about other work" the agency performs, adding, "Nothing has been found to show that our services to patients with HIV have been anything but superior." County commissioners said they were "forced" to extend THAP's contract because the agency was the only bidder on several of the contracts. The commissioners said that they will keep working with THAP until they can review a new round of applicants. Hammond said he hopes the county will "treat THAP fairly" in the next round of bids (St. Petersburg Times, 3/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.