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LGBT

AIDS Groups Square Off in Dispute Over Competing Fundraisers

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Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge AIDS Healthcare founder Michael Weinstein, left, during happier times.
  • AIDS Healthcare founder Michael Weinstein, left, during happier times.
AIDS Project Los Angeles has sued AIDS Healthcare Foundation for alleged unfair competition practices and trademark infringement, according to Los Angeles Business Journal, setting off a rare and tense battle between two major AIDS groups.

"(AIDS Healthcare Foundation) always been aggressive in advocacy," Craig Thompson, executive director of AIDS Project Los Angeles, told the Business Journal. "Where we're disappointed is we've never seen them go after someone else's private fundraising in this type of an effort before."

Founded by Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation plans to hold the first annual "California AIDS Walk" in September at Griffith Park -- just three weeks before APLA's "AIDS Walk Los Angeles."

Both groups expect the walks to be major fundraisers, but APLA has sued AIDS Healthcare Foundation, demanding that Weinstein change the name of the event, move it to a different date, and use a less similar logo.

Weinstein defended his event, telling the Business Journal: "I think it's healthy competition. I think it's innovation. I think we're trying to do something new."

Thompson, who once worked for Weinstein, said AIDS Healthcare "didn't talk to us in advance and they clearly didn't try to not compete with our event." He also told the Business Journal that "there was some strategy here to put the event when it was."

In other words, Thompson believes Weinstein went out of his way to compete with AIDS Walk Los Angeles.

The lawsuit is now making its way through Los Angeles Superior Court.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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