Johnnie's Manor, a South Dallas agency that provides housing, transportation, and other services for people with HIV/AIDS, has had its $1.1 million contract with Dallas County severed after the agency changed executive directors, The Dallas Morning News reports. Betty Culbreath-Lister, director of the county's Health and Human Services Department, said the contact was severed after Johnnie's Manor executive director Helen Spicer was forced out of her job during a meeting of seven people who claimed to be members of the agency's board. But county officials say they cannot prove that several of the people at that meeting had ever been appointed to the 21-member board. Lavette Dudley, the daughter of former Dallas County councilman Al Lipscomb, was appointed executive director in Spicer's place. Lipscomb was in attendance at the meeting at which Spicer was forced out but said he did not vote on the issue because it involved his daughter.
"None of our audits have found problems with the programs or spending at Johnnie's Manor," said Culbreath-Lister of the decision to sever the contract with the agency. "But we have a responsibility to know who is running this agency before we give them any more funds." The agency received $1,065,616 last year for services it provides largely to African-American clients in south Dallas. The county now plans to pay directly for housing services provided to about 20 Johnnie's House clients and to reassign the agency's remaining clients to other HIV/AIDS service groups in the city.