that cares for the AIDS Memorial Quilt announced Wednesday
that the group has settled a lawsuit with the man who
created the quilt and later claimed he was wrongly
Cleve Jones, who
in 1987 stitched the first square of what became an
international symbol of the human toll of AIDS, sued the
Atlanta-based Names Project Foundation last year. He
said he was fired after complaining that the quilt was
not being displayed as prominently as it should be.
Earlier this year superior court judges in San Francisco
threw out the wrongful firing and breach of contract
portions of Jones's suit. All that remained before
Jones agreed to drop the lawsuit was a claim that the
foundation intentionally caused him mental distress.
a San Francisco attorney who represented the
foundation, said leaders are glad to have the lawsuit behind
them. "This cost the foundation a substantial amount
of money that it could not afford," Thompson said. "It
put a substantial strain on resources that could have
been better used to fight AIDS."
former director of the foundation, said no money changed
hands as part of the settlement. He said the Names Project
Foundation agreed to allow Jones--who acted as
the project's spokesman for 15 years--to
nominate four finalists for two positions on the
foundation's board of directors each year.
Jones, who lives
in Palm Springs, Calif., could not be reached for
comment Wednesday. Last year he complained that the
foundation was doing too little with the 50-ton quilt.
"It has become
essentially invisible and irrelevant in the struggle
against AIDS," Jones said in January. "I thought it was
terribly important in an election year to get AIDS
back on the radar screen."
Jones, who is
HIV-positive, founded the Names Project and served as its
executive director until 1990, when he resigned due to his
illness. He continued to serve as the organization's
public face until December, when he was fired. His
lawsuit claimed he was terminated because he questioned
the direction the foundation has taken under its new
objections of some AIDS activists, the foundation and quilt
were moved from San Francisco to Atlanta in March
2001. At the time, foundation officials said the move
was necessary to save money on rent, to bring the
financially struggling organization closer to East Coast
foundations, and to reach African-American communities that
had been hard hit by AIDS.
Portions of the
quilt currently are being displayed in cities throughout
the nation. (AP)