Once again, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is putting the political and personal interests of its publicity-seeking founder, Michael Weinstein, ahead of the healthcare needs of its true constituency.
Last week, the AHF filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles to stop the proposed demolition of Parker Center and the development of a multi-story office tower for City workers. Mr. Weinstein used the filing of the suit to hold a press conference, drawing more far more attention to himself than the causes of homelessness or healthcare. During the presser, Mr. Weinstein called the City’s project a “flagrant waste of money.”
Somehow, the irony of his statement escaped him — even as Weinstein uses Medicare money to fight land-use battles, rather than providing healthcare services to those in need. Weinstein’s lawsuit alleges the proposed Parker Center project provides no public benefit – willfully ignoring the savings generated by consolidating City workers into a single complex, freeing up substantial space throughout downtown. Inevitably, AHF will lose this lawsuit, and will end up using even more Medicare-marked funds to pay lawyers – the City’s and its own.
When it comes to flagrant wastes of money, Weinstein of all people should know. He has a history of wasting healthcare dollars on failed ballot initiatives, the now go-to tactic of the increasingly petulant AHF. Weinstein, unsurprisingly, has now threatened to do the same with Parker Center.
Most recently, AHF spent $12 million of its annual $200 million “surplus” (profit?) against a ballot initiative expanding rent control. This is a fraction of AHF’s annual revenues, which according to a New York Times article1 from 2017, are $1 billion. Weinstein collects $400,000 in salary from AHF each year.
Weinstein, as you may recall, also notably lead the charge to demand porn actors in LA wear condoms on set, wasting $4.5 million dollars on the failed Prop 60.
Weinstein also threw medicare reimbursement dollars at the ill-fated Measure S, which would have allowed development projects near AHF’s headquarters to continue, blocking his office’s view.
AHF’s spending resulted in an IRS formal complaint filed by The Free Speech Coalition, whose Executive Director Eric Paul Leue alleged AHF misappropriated tax-exempt funds.
“Michael Weinstein is using millions of dollars intended for people living with and affected by HIV on dubious political campaigns that benefit his bottom line,” said Leue. “[It is] not only a gross violation of IRS limits governing non-profit political spending, it’s an absolute abandonment of his organization’s moral imperative. Weinstein is robbing underserved communities that need treatment and education dollars to fuel anti-science moral crusades. We’re asking the IRS to immediately begin an investigation.”
AHF has been sued in Florida for over $20 million relating to Medicare fraud. Los Angeles County sued AHF for $5.2 million for over-billing the county.