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Baltimore AIDS walk draws 500 despite FBI investigation

Baltimore AIDS walk draws 500 despite FBI investigation

About 500 people participated in the 17th annual Maryland AIDS Walk in Baltimore on Sunday despite an ongoing federal investigation into the Health Education Resource Organization, the beneficiary of the fund-raiser. HERO is under investigation by the FBI after a former employee raised concerns that executive director Leonardo Ortega may have misused agency funds to give himself bonuses and pay for a personal trainer. An internal HERO audit cleared Ortega of any wrongdoing, but the federal investigation, requested by city officials, is continuing. Many people participating in the AIDS walk told the Baltimore Sun they did so to support HERO's ongoing efforts to provide care for area AIDS patients, which has been overshadowed by the recent controversy. Ortega says HERO is still tabulating pledges, but it appears that proceeds will surpass the $75,000 raised last year.

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