St. Louis agency ordered to give back pay to fired directors
A St. Louis circuit court judge last week ordered Blacks Assisting Blacks Against AIDS, a St. Louis agency focusing on sexual health issues affecting African-American men, to pay two fired employees about $20,000 in back pay, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Erise Williams, former director of the group, and James Green, BABAA's senior director, were fired in November after the St. Louis Health Department began an investigation as to whether money from a federal syphilis prevention grant was used by BABAA to pay porn star Edgar Gaines to appear at a safer-sex event. Gaines, who performs under the screen name Bobby Blake, was paid $500 to attend the event and allegedly appeared wearing only a towel and boots and allowed attendees to fondle him.
Williams and Green denied the allegations, but BABAA's board unanimously voted to fire Williams and Green, saying that Gaines's appearance at the event was "totally inappropriate." Judge Jack Garvey ordered BABAA to pay Williams $12,000 and Green $7,560 in back pay stemming from their dismissals. BABAA board members say they may appeal the decision.