Chicago officials investigate minority AIDS group
The Chicago Department of Public Health and the city solicitor general are investigating allegations of fraud, mismanagement, and anti-Latino bias at the city's Minority Outreach Intervention Project, the Chicago Free Press reports. The allegations were made by Richard Santana, a former MOIP employee. Santana alleges that MOIP executive director Brandon Armani falsified documents to secure city grants and that the MOIP misspent the grant money, hampering the agency's Latino AIDS outreach efforts. Armani is also alleged to have forged signatures on sign-up sheets for three Latino AIDS outreach events held in 2001 to trick city officials into believing the events were well-attended when no one actually attended them, according to Santana.
The city's investigations into the agency could lead to a demand for state and city AIDS grants to be returned if any wrongdoing is proven, said Fikirte Wagaw of the health department. MOIP was founded in 1989 to perform AIDS outreach and education in Chicago's African-American and Latino communities. The agency received about $80,000 in grants in 2001 for AIDS outreach efforts specifically targeted at the city's Latino residents.