Broward County, Fla., Withholds Grant to HIV/AIDS Agency After Founder, Money Disappear
Broward County, Fla., this week withheld a $500,000 federal Ryan White CARE Act grant to a not-for-profit HIV/AIDS agency after the agency's founder disappeared and $12,000 in grant money was discovered to be missing, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports. Marie Wansiki founded the Wansiki Foundation 15 years ago to help HIV-positive patients access AIDS-related drugs; however, the foundation, which was forced to close on Tuesday due to the funding withdrawal, "ended amid poor performance reviews" and had more than $160,000 in unpaid bills, according to the Sun-Sentinel. County auditors are attempting to trace $12,000 of grants that the foundation received in December 2002, and Wansiki has been missing for more than two weeks, according to foundation staff. The foundation's closure leaves about 700 HIV-positive people without medical care and case management, according to the Sun-Sentinel. The Wansiki Foundation's board said it removed Wansiki as director on Jan. 3 and merged with the not-for-profit AIDS Project Florida, which agreed to take all of the foundation's patients. However, APF Chair Norman Kent said there is "no guarantee" that Broward County would award AIDS Project Florida the necessary grants to avoid any service stoppage. He urged the county to expeditiously redistribute Wansiki's grants (LaMendola, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 1/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.