California AIDSRide Organizers Say Competing Ride, Lawsuit Cut in Half the Number of Participants in This Year’s Event
About 1,200 people, fewer than half the number of people who participated in last year's California AIDSRide, were signed up to depart from San Francisco for Los Angeles yesterday as part of the seven-day, 575-mile charity bike ride, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports. Organizers, who said they expected only two-thirds of those who registered to ride in the event, attributed the low turnout to a competing ride sponsored by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center that took place two weeks ago and to a lawsuit recently filed against Pallotta TeamWorks, the company that sponsors the ride. AIDS/LifeCycle was created this year after SFAF and the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center voiced concerns that too much of the money raised by the ride was going toward production and promotion costs and not enough was going toward the charities intended to benefit from the race. "There is a group of ... people who do rides and now we have forced them to make a choice," Craig Thompson, executive director of AIDS Project Los Angeles, one of the groups benefitting from the AIDSRide, said, adding, "We have forced a division, and that's unfortunate." Mark Cloutier, a former AIDS Vaccine Ride participant, filed a lawsuit in April alleging that Pallotta TeamWorks "misrepresented and mismanaged" money raised and intended for not-for-profit HIV/AIDS organizations. AIDSRides have raised $40 million since 1994 and 18 groups are expected to benefit from this year's events taking place around the world (Rodriguez, AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/1).
Other AIDS Events
Several other HIV/AIDS charity events were held this weekend. In Orange County, Calif., more than 10,000 people gathered at the University of California-Irvine for the 16th AIDS Walk Orange County, the Los Angeles Times reports. An estimated $711,000 was raised for HIV prevention and support services in the county, which has about 10,000 HIV-positive residents (McKibben, Los Angeles Times, 6/3). Walkers also congregated yesterday in Providence, R.I., for AIDS Project Rhode Island's 15th Walk for Life, the Providence Journal reports. Organizers hoped to have about 1,500 participants and raise about $150,000 (Anderson, Providence Journal, 6/3).