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Los Angeles County AIDS official under investigation

Los Angeles County AIDS official under investigation

The director of the Los Angeles County Office of AIDS Programs and Policy is currently under investigation by the county for his role in fund-raising activities for Los Angeles mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa while on paid vacation since February 14, The Daily News reports. Officials also may audit all of the county's AIDS contracts during the past four years as part of the investigation. Charles Henry, director of the AIDS office, is being investigated by the county Department of Health Services as to whether he used county resources while soliciting contributions for Villaraigosa's campaign from AIDS and HIV organizations that contract with his office. Henry also is being investigated as to whether his fund-raising activities constitute a conflict of interest. Villaraigosa, a city councilman, was the top vote-getter in Tuesday's citywide mayoral election, but because he failed to claim a majority of the votes, he faces a May 17 runoff election with second-place finisher and incumbent mayor James Hahn. At a meeting last week, county supervisor Michael Antonovich asked the county auditor to join the investigation and to conduct an audit of all county AIDS contracts during the previous four years to determine if billing for the contractors' services had been accurate. John Schunhoff, chief of operations for the county health department, said his staff is looking into the matter and will issue a report as soon as the investigation is complete. But Schunhoff is quick to point out that the investigation will not affect AIDS services in the county. "Regardless of how this comes out, this won't have an impact on direct program services for people with HIV and AIDS," he told The Daily News. Henry and Villaraigosa could not be reached for comment by the newspaper.

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