HIV/AIDS Spending Reviewed in D.C.
January 24, 2003
The D.C. inspector general is beginning a far-reaching review of whether millions of dollars of city and federal money were spent properly by an HIV/AIDS office where two figures in the Washington Teachers' Union scandal work, officials said Thursday.Adapted from:
The probe into the D.C. Department of Health's HIV/AIDS office creates a new front in a case that began with allegations that millions of dollars were misspent by top officials of the 5,000-member teachers union. The inspector general's office also has been working on that investigation, aiding the FBI, the federal Labor Department and other agencies. No charges have been filed. A federal grand jury is reviewing union documents as part of an investigation.
Two figures in the union scandal -- Michael Martin and Errol Alderman -- work in the HIV/AIDS office and were partners in a business called Expressions Unlimited. An FBI affidavit and a recent audit by the American Federation of Teachers, the parent organization of the Washington Teachers' Union, said it appeared that the business received improper payments from the union.
Martin, operations manager for the HIV/AIDS office, said on Wednesday he did not know of any financial impropriety in the office and denied any wrongdoing. Alderman, a computer specialist in the office, would not comment last night. Both remain in the office.
Gloria P. Johnson, chief of staff for the inspector general's office, said the new review will start immediately. "It will be a comprehensive review of everything going on in the office," she said. "All of our auditors and inspectors are required to refer to our investigative unit any findings that are suspicious."
In an interview late Wednesday, Ronald Lewis, a health department deputy director, said he was not troubled that the mayor had asked for an expanded review. The HIV/AIDS agency was overhauled after a critical internal review in 1998 that led to Lewis' assuming leadership of the agency, according to Theodore Gordon, another health department deputy director. "I see these audits and inspector general reviews as routine," Lewis said. "We've done nothing wrong."
01.24.03; Craig Timberg; Avram Goldstein