Friday, December 22, 2006

CDC-Funded HIV Group Won't Disclose IRS 990 Files

December 21, 2006

Frank Darby
Sunshine Ordinance Task Force
City Hall
San Francisco, CA

Dear Mr. Darby,

I wish to lodge a complaint against the Native American AIDS Project, NAAP, for possible violation of the city's Nonprofit Public Access Ordinance, specifically Section 12L.5 of the ordinance, which requires nonprofits receiving municipal dollars to make financial documents available to the public.

On December 14 and 15 I left voice mail messages for Ms. Joan Benoit, the executive director of NAAP, requesting copies of her most recent IRS 990 filings. The reason why I did this was because NAAP was not listed on the site, nor were it's IRS 990 reports posted on that site.

On December 19 I placed another call to NAAP and the receptionist informed me Ms. Benoit would not be returning my calls and she demanded to know why I wanted their tax returns. I told the receptionist that her group was required by both federal and city statutes to make the IRS 990's available for public inspection, and I was simply asking NAAP to comply with the law.

The receptionist then told me I had to call Mr. Ernest J. Fazio Jr, at 415-777-xxxx, extension 316.

I reached Mr. Fazio and he informed me in no uncertain terms that it "will take a court order before I give you any of our financial records." When I asked Mr. Fazio about complying with the law on behalf of his client NAAP, he told me "to go court and tell it to a judge."

Of course, I have no intention of going to court to ask a judge to issue a ruling requiring Mr. Fazio, Ms. Benoit and NAAP to make their IRS 990 filings available for public inspection.

Instead, I ask the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force to take up this complaint, as soon as possible, to force NAAP and its executives to comply with city and federal statutes.

Additionally, as you know, Section 12L.7 of the city's ordinance states: "In the event that a nonprofit organization materially fails to comply with any contract provision required by this Chapter, the City agency or department which is a party to such contract shall consider such failure a material breach of the contract."

Since NAAP has many contracts, totaling more than $300,000, with the city through the Department of Public Health's AIDS Office, and I believe NAAP is violating the law, thereby breaching the contract, as a courtesy to the DPH, I will send a copy of this complaint to Mr. Jimmy Loyce, the director of the DPH's AIDS Office. It my hope that Mr. Loyce will force NAAP to comply with all public disclosure laws.

Also, since NAAP receives money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for some of its programs, a courtesy copy of this complaint will be sent to CDC officials, Dr. Kevin Fenton and Mr. Walter Chow, responsible for monitoring San Francisco HIV prevention contractors. Maybe between directors at SF DPH and the CDC, a message will be sent to NAAP forcing them to comply with disclosing their IRS 990s to the public.

A prompt reply is requested and appreciated.

Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA

Mr. Jimmy Loyce, SF DPH AIDS Office
Mr. Walter Chow, CDC HIV Prevention Project Officer for SF
Dr. Kevin Fenton, CDC Chief for HIV Prevention

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