Washington, D.C., HIV/AIDS Office Investigated in Connection With Washington Teacher’s Union Scandal
Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams (D) on Thursday requested that city Inspector General Charles Maddox initiate an investigation to determine the propriety with which the city's HIV/AIDS office handled millions in city and federal funds, the Washington Post reports. This investigation expands the scope of a routine office investigation initiated last year and is part of a larger investigation into allegations of the illegal use of millions of dollars of Washington Teachers' Union funds. Two key figures in the scandal, Michael Martin and Errol Alderman, work in the HIV/AIDS office. The two were also partners in Expression Unlimited, a company that "received improper payments from the union," according to an FBI affidavit and recent audit by the American Federation of Teachers, the Post reports. "I am specifically requesting that you review all financial operations of this office in its administration of both local and federal funds as well as the general operation of the agency to assess compliance with all matters under your jurisdiction," Williams' letter to Maddox said. He added, "Given the critical public health interest served by the HIV/AIDS office, I ask that you conduct this review as swiftly as possible." Some AIDS advocates have been calling for a review of the office's service policies in addition to its spending practices. "[The office] is not doing what it is supposed to be doing," Wayne Turner, a spokesperson for ACT UP/D.C., said, adding that it is "very hard to determine who is getting what services." Health Department Deputy Director Ronald Lewis, who took over the position after a major overhaul of the office in 1998, said that he "see[s] these audits and inspector general reviews as routine," adding, "We've done nothing wrong." Lewis said, "We have an [AIDS] epidemic, and it's a shame we waste a lot of our energy answering frivolous charges" (Timberg/Goldstein, Washington Post, 1/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.