Los Angeles AIDS Director To Take Leave During Mayoral Campaign Fund-Raising Investigation
Los Angeles County Office of AIDS Programs and Policy Director Charles Henry has taken "administrative leave," while county auditors and health officials investigate whether fund-raising activities he undertook for Antonio Villaraigosa's mayoral campaign violated county policies, Los Angeles Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 3/15).
Henry solicited contributions for the Villaraigosa campaign from at least one agency to which his office provides funds, according to county memos recently obtained by the Times. Henry in November 2004 sent an invitation for a fund-raising event to an unnamed county contractor along with a handwritten note, according to a memo.
The memo stated that supervisors, after learning of Henry's campaign activities, told him that such requests could create the perception among county grant recipients that "their support or lack thereof" of Villaraigosa "could impact their ability to secure funding." At the time, Henry said he would continue to pursue political activities outside of the office.
Supervisor Michael Antonovich last week requested that the county auditor participate in an investigation of Henry and undertake an audit of all contracts for HIV/AIDS services over the past four years to verify county billing.
Public health operations Chief Operating Officer John Schunhoff said that county DHS will deliver a report to the Board of Supervisors when it is completed.
The release of the investigation's results, which was scheduled for Tuesday, was canceled, and the issue was referred to county DHS for further investigation (California Healthline, 3/10).
Henry has denied the accusations (Los Angeles Times, 3/15).