Chicago Health Department Investigating Allegations of Mismanagement of City Funds at AIDS Outreach Organization
The Chicago Department of Public Health is investigating allegations that the Minority Outreach Intervention Project, which received $80,000 in city funds in 2001 to conduct HIV/AIDS outreach among Latinos, mismanaged the money and defrauded the agency, the Chicago Free Press reports. The investigation was spurred by allegations from former MOIP employee Richard Santana that Brandon Armani, the group's executive director, mismanaged the group's programs and forged attendance records from events in order to "justify" the grant money. Armani has denied the charges, saying that Santana provided him with the attendance sheets and that he, or someone else, forged the signatures. However, several other former MOIP employees who were "forced to leave" the group after they urged leaders to direct more resources to Latino AIDS programs said that they could confirm Santana's allegations. Jim Pickett, a member of the HIV Planning and Prevention Group, which advises CDPH on the "HIV/AIDS needs of specific communities" within Chicago, called the allegations "upsetting," particularly because HIV/AIDS funding is "under intense scrutiny nationally." Pickett added, "We're all concerned. It concerns me that a population may be getting slighted. And if there was forgery, that's unacceptable" (Barlow, Chicago Free Press, 9/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.