Saturday, August 05, 2006

Indiana AIDS Programs Plagued By Waste, Fraud & Abuse

The sentencing of a Fort Wayne AIDS Task Force employee this week for stealing $95,000 in government grant money intended for needy persons suffering from AIDS is yet another reminder that Indiana's AIDS programs are being short-changed by the persons entrusted with administering these programs. It is just one in a line of cases across the state where government investigators have uncovered waste, fraud and abuse in the administration of these programs by nonprofit, AIDS grant agencies. Paula Lamb, formerly with the Fort Wayne AIDS Task Force, feebly attempted to explain her actions as the court sentenced her to 5 months in prison and 5 months of home detention and ordered her to repay the $95,000 she stole:

I would just like to say there is no excuse for stealing from the AIDS Task Force. I am suffering from overwhelming guilt every day,” said Paula Lamb, 53, the former administrative assistant of the task force.

“I offer my sincere apologies to the staff, the clients and the board. They trusted me, and I broke that trust. I know that people won’t forget. I don’t expect them to. But I hope that some day they will be able to forgive me.”

Remarkably, Lamb had been stealing from the Task Force for over five years before she was caught by the agency's executive director. The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette writes, "When Lamb pleaded guilty in April to an embezzlement charge, prosecutors said Lamb used the agency’s credit cards, transferred money and wrote checks to herself. She spent the money at Wal-Mart,, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and QVC. More than 140 checks had forged signatures."

After the Richmond Palladium-Item conducted an in-depth investigation of the AIDS Task Force of Southeast Central Indiana, which led to that agency's closing. The Palladium-Item wrote, "[T]he organization closed its doors July 12, 2004 after the Indiana State Department of Health pulled $232,500 worth of grants, the majority of its $300,000 annual budget, amid complaints of mismanagement and misuse of task force money." That led to an 18-month investigation by the Wayne Co. Prosecutor's office, which resulted in the indictment of William Selkirk, Jr., the agency's executive director, for 10 felony charges. The charges filed claimed Selkirk:
  • Wrote an $8,000 check out of AIDS Task Force funds to Lincoln Schneider to cover the payrolls for Schneider’s private business. Neither Schneider nor task force officials have any record the money was paid back.
  • Hired a New Castle woman he had met in an online chat room and instructed her to do the task force’s 2002 audit even though the woman was not a public accountant or a certified public accountant. He paid the woman $3,150 to do the audit and eventually paid her $8,700 for consulting and fund-raising services. Her audit eventually was rejected by the Indiana State Board of Accounts because it was not done by an accountant. Selkirk did not have a romantic relationship with the woman.
  • Made dozens of unauthorized purchases using task force credit cards, buying meals at restaurants like O’Charley’s, Red Lobster, Carver’s and Jag’s, spending $346 for tickets to a performance by The Three Tenors in Chicago, buying alcohol, motorcycle parts, hotel stays and gift cards at local stores.
  • Paid himself $12,000 from a Wayne County Foundation Impact grant to Hope House for a full year of bookkeeping services that were never performed.
But the worst scandal, in terms of the impact on the people dependent on the program, occurred more than 5 years ago when the state's largest AIDS group, AIDServe Indiana, folded after the Indiana Department of Health pulled its contract due to gross mismanagement. An investigate report by the Indianapolis Star from October 15, 2000 revealed that "Indiana's only statewide organization that provides financial help to people with HIV and AIDS has mismanaged hundreds of thousands of dollars, with devastating consequences for sick people."

Sadly, no one at either the Indiana Department of Health or AIDServe Indiana accepted responsibility for the debacle. The Body reported on June 18, 2002 that "Mark St. John, AIDServe's last executive director . . . acknowledged 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' as the agency's cash flow problems mounted." St. John said that "programs were kept going . . . in the belief that the state would eventually forward the money." St. John told the Star, "There is an argument that we're all responsible here . . . we all contributed to it in lots of different ways here, not with maliciousness or anything else . . . it just kind of happened." St. John attempted to shift the blame to his predecessor when the problems first arose, but the Star reported that "things did not improve under St. John's watch." St. John admitting using funds meant to pay doctors, pharmacies and landlords for the organization's operating expenses. "What I ended up doing was shifting bucks around to make payroll, " St John told the Star. He told the Star then that "the situation is improving." He said that he was "optimistic that by January, things will be back to normal at AIDServe." The agency filed for bankruptcy in June, 2001.

The Body wrote nearly 2 years after the Star's initial investigative report:

A federal audit has concluded that the Indiana State Department of Health owes the US government nearly $800,000 in funds that were inappropriately distributed to about a dozen groups by AIDServe Indiana. In addition, the auditors say they could not find proper documentation for an additional $5.3 million and recommended that the state and the US Department of Health and Human Services continue trying to find or rebuild the paperwork to show if the money was spent correctly.

What is quite troubling is the fact that nobody was ever really held to account for the AIDServe Indiana mess despite the untold human suffering which occurred because of the gross mismanagement of the federal AIDS funds with which it had been entrusted. There were no criminal indictments. It's former executive director, St. John, now operates Lambda Consulting, where he works as a paid lobbyist for Indiana's statewide GLBT organization, Indiana Equality, among other clients.

The importance of these federally-funded programs cannot be understated for those who rely on their benefits. Unfortunately, the people we count on the most to effectively deliver the funding to those in need have failed us miserably in Indiana. Perhaps we need to look for new ways of disbursing these funds. These nonprofit agencies have clearly not earned our confidence and trust.


Anonymous said...

I remember those dark days when AIDSereve had to shut its doors. So many people suffered as a result of Mark St. John's gross mismanagement of programs and funds, and I was one of them. St.John's efforts to shift blame to everyone else but himself was shameless, and spoke to his character.

I doubt we'll be reading anything about this on any local gay blogs, since the leadership at Indiana Equality is so tight with St. John, and they seem to control the other blogs. I find it of interest that IE has passed through almost all the money it raised over the past two years directly to St. John and his partner as salary for "lobbying", with little to show for it.

Worse, still, is that IE has made it clear that the huge amount of money they just got from that man in Ft. Wayne, will be used to pay St. John and his partner even more money, so they can hire others, who will presumably be 'managed' by St. John. This seems a recipe for failure and disaster; just like the AIDServe tragedy was.

It's no secret that it has been hard for IE to raise money because of the people who control it. The guy in Ft. Wayne had no idea who these people were, and he mistakenly thought this was the place to put his money. This created a windfall of money for IE. Let's hope that this man's money doesn't suffer the same fate due to mismanagement of IE, that AIDServe's funding did.

Thanks for keeping in real on your blog. It's the best. No nonsense, no bs, and no sugar-coating of the facts.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for drawing attention to this issue. There really should have been more done about AIDServe than there was. I believe the O'Bannon-Kernan administrations were simply too anxious to sweep this embarrassment under the rug. In these cases where federal funds are involved and you have a nonprofit which has falsified documents, lied to federal and state agencies and otherwise spent money for purposes other than purpose it was granted, you will see the feds investigate and prosecute. I was quite surprised this didn't happen in this case. It truly was a very unfortunate situation which should have never happened.

Anonymous said...

What happened at AIDServe was a terrible serious of events, but NOTHING like what we've seen in Fort Wayne and Richmond. I have never understood why Mark St. John had to bear the burden of AIDServe's history because he never personally benefited one red cent from it and did no more than try to fix a broken agency in his very short term of service at its demise.

St. John was hired to manage an agency that had a long-time money flow problem. The most serious problem AIDServe faced was paying for too many services for too many people under false promises that government funding and donors would cover them ... and this was all BEFORE Mark took charge.

The only people who were ever "harmed" by AIDServe mismanagement were those who thought they deserved services (which I believe our community should have provided one way or another), but for which the government and private donors never provided the funding to pay for them.

If you provide $2000 in services when the government and private donors only provide you $1500 ... everyone who received the extra $500 should have been thankful. Instead, they were always so hateful, and I've never understood why. St. John inherited an agency that had done this exact thing for some time ... and everyone who'd benefited from the $2000 in services were so upset that Mark couldn't magically create the extra $500 ... OR provide $2000 yet again and again and again.

What was the state government supposed to do at the time? Admit that they should have been giving $2000 but hadn't? Dole out a bunch of money to an agency that had overspent on important services? I think they did what was best -- shut an Agency in an unfixable situation and start over by giving the funds to other agencies (like the Damien Center and the Indiana AIDS Fund) that were duplicating services anyway.

At the same time, I agree that Indiana Equality is mired in a credibility problem. Some don't like Mark, MOST of the community won't give a penny because of Kathy Sarris' deserved reputation.

What are we to do? I'll suggest we need to put the personal animosity toward Mark behind us and do something constructive about I.E. ... before it's too late.

Gary R. Welsh said...

One of the criticism of AIDServe at the time was that it's administrative overhead was too high. Shortly before its demise, its staff had grown to about two dozen. Two dozen people to serve about 800 clients! And then the clients and providers were all complaining about the non-responsiveness of the people who worked there to their complaints. The problems certainly pre-dated St. John's tenure, but as the Star pointed out in its investigative report, he didn't take steps to change the agency's old ways when he took over. St. John was in over his head when he assumed a job he was neither prepared for nor experienced to handle. Matters quickly went from bad to worse, creating dire circumstances for those dependent on the agency's funds for survival.

Anonymous said...

I don't think most people know that Mark was a former Deputy Director of the state Family and Social Services Agency and then went with the former head of FSSA to run the Gay Men's Health Crisis organization in NYC. I'll suggest he was very well prepared to run an organization that was at least somewhat doing OK ... or maybe even a little out of whack.

Indiana AIDServe, however, was a huge mess when he came in, and I appreciate that he came back to take on the challenge. If anyone can fault Mark about the situation, it was his poor judgement to step in to try to save a financially ruinous agency that provided very important, very needed services to our community.

If I remember correctly, he was faulted at the time for hiring a few new staff to try to fix the mess. He was immediately faced with complaints from clients whose services were being cut off and providers who weren't being paid ... because the agency had so over-extended itself it was a mess. What was he to do?

At the time, the Star's coverage was ruthless, showing terribly needy people who weren't receiving services they were promised. But how was AIDServe supposed to pay for promised services with insufficient government $$$ and donations -- mint their own money? I never understood why AIDServe was blamed for a community- and state-wide problem of underfunding for services.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Troy--you missed the whole point of the Star story. "Robbing Peter to pay Paul" were St. John's own words. We'll go ahead and use money intended for clients for operational expenses in hopes that the government will excuse our gross incompetence and send us the money anyway. Guess what? The government said no. He never cleaned up the accounting--even knowing that the agency would be permanently barred from receiving federal funds.

Anonymous said...

There are some in the community who still believe that taking down AIDServe was St. John's objective...

Anonymous said...

Gary -

Don't want to continue on about something that's way in our past, but I just want to emphasize two points:

1) There was NO allegation EVER that money was stolen or otherwise used for illegal purposes at AIDServe like the Fort Wayne and Richmodn situations. You can argue about whether it was spent wisely, but it was never spent illegally.

2) If I remember correctly the audit on AIDServe's demise was "swept under the rug" because the bureaucracy of state and federal government required AIDServe to hire many staffers to complete oodles of paperwork ... for which the organization hired people to do from the funds that should have gone for services. AIDServe was not a service provider but an organization used to "funnel" funds to other organizations to provide the services. This was the "rob peter to pay paul" scenario ... the funds needed to manage the distribution of funds robbed people of much-needed services.

The concept that St. John conspired to run AIDServe into the ground by a later post is hateful in the least; downright ridiculous.

Bottom line: This is yet another excuse for Indiana Equality's problems. I believe that was why this subject was brought up in the first place. Whether or not Mark can or should be blamed for AIDServe, what are we do to about the TOTAL lack of political clout of the LGBT communmity in Indiana???

Anonymous said...

P.S. -- I need to start hitting "preview" instead of "post" to fix my own grammatical errors. Will do in the future. ;-)

Anonymous said...


You do not 'remember correctly'. There was no effort by the state, or anyone other than St. John, to sweep anything under the rug. St. John tried to cover his ass and hide his udder and complete mismanagement of AIDServe. Gary Welsh said it right: Mark was in way over his head at AIDServe. Their board should never have hired him. It was a mistake, but it happened because of cronyism between St. John and the board chair, and the fact that he was on his way out at ICHHI, where he worked.

The fault for mismanagement was spread over a lot of people, not just St. John. The Ind State Health Department for beginners, the process they'd set up for providing services was terrible.

But St. John did nothing to change any of it which was under his control, or to try to fix it. He either couldn't see it, or just ignored it. Either way, it was a management issue with him, based on incompetence (Again, as Gary said, he was in over his head at the very least).

Once St. John had let AIDServer deteriorate so much that it was totally out of control, and things were beginning to catch up with him (as they almost always do in such circumstances, it's always just a matter of time), he tried to scurry for cover and began the blame game, the save-my-ass game -- rather than thinking of the poor HIV-infected and desperate people who depended on his knowing what he was doing, and doing it right, and at least trying to fix the problems. As a result, lots of innocent people were hurt. For example, this all happened a few days before Christmas and landlords of aids patients were ready to evict because of the mismanagement. It was an obscene mess!

I don't think anyone's said St John, or anyone else, was stealing money from AIDServe or the government -- that wasn't the issue. It was all about St. John's mismanagement and incompetence. But, your attempt to minimize what St. John did by saying "You can argue about whether it was spent wisely, but it was never spent illegally", is an obvious public relations effort on your and Mark's part to diminish the significance of what happened. Nice try, but it won't fly here.

Most people would agree, there was no conspiracy by St. John to run AIDServe into the ground, and the poster who said that was wrong and hateful. That statement really does show just how strongly people still feel, to this day, about what St. John did. The wounds are still raw. And your effort to minimize it by saying it's ancient history, are shameful. It"s not ancient history. Besides that, it's worth reminding people that if we don't learn from our past mistakes, we're doomed to commit them again. Watch out IE.

Your comment about poor St. John not being able to pay for the services of the "terribly needy people who weren't receiving services they were promised" because the state wasn't paying him is absurd. Had he been submitting the vouchers to the state, he would have been getting the money he needed from the state. Every time he should have been completing the necessary paperwork to submit to the state, instead, St John put them in a desk drawer, (where they were later discovered) and went out back to smoke a cigarette. Again, pure and utter incompetence and mismanagement by St. John. And it caused so much pain and suffering for others who depended on him.

As Gary pointed out, St. John allowed a bloated and inefficient bureaucracy to exist at AIDServe; his administrative overhead was much too high. It's management 101 and he failed miserably. Again, if it had been his own company he was running into the ground, no one would have been hurt except his own employees/customers/vendors. But St John's mismanagement hurt innocent victims.

It looks like you're a mouth-piece for St. John, or that you work with him. Trying to whitewash what he did won't fly here with the people who were there when it happened and who know the facts.

I also wanted to ask you what you meant with your question "what are we do to about the TOTAL lack of political clout of the LGBT communmity in Indiana?" How does that fit with the AIDServe discussion?

My personal view is that the lack of political clout in our community is based on a lack of substantial money to give to candidates and office holders, along with a lack of effective leadership in the area of governmental relations (lobbying). There are plenty of qualified and sophisticated people in our community who can and regularly do talk with the Democrats in our state legislature and other offices. But there are no credible or effective gay Republicans who can do the same on their side of the aisle. Before you respond think about what 'effective' means. And then think about what the gay Republicans have accomplished (or not accomplished); ie.. Douglas/Sarris et al.

Then, think about who rules/controlls IE; it's those same ineffectual people.

When you add their egos and arrogance into the mix, you end up with an IE that hires people to lobby for them who have little or no clout on the Republican side of the aisle -- where work is most needed, but who are being paid a huge percentage (at times 100%) of the money raised by IE; and, to do what?

One gay leader, who these ineffectual and arrogant 'leaders' tried to quash a couple of years ago as she was pulling off the largest and most effective LGBT march the city/state had ever seen, has termed all these people the 'gay mafia'.

That same arrogant cabal of 'leaders', along with incompetents, is a recipe for ineffective leadership. Call it 'leadership 101'.

Anonymous said...

Whoa there little soldiers, the 11:38 comment was hardy intended as hateful or suggestive of a conspiracy theory. The remark was simply offered as additional speculation, an article of the trade quite obviously in no short supply here.

Anonymous said...

I am SO glad to see this BLOG. I live in Ft Wayne and know the local Aids Service Agency is hiding abuses daily.

I filed a grievance and watched the wheels turn...ALL in favor of burying facts that would bring questions to light regarding the Aids Task Force, Inc of Ft Wayne, IN and the Indiana State Dept of Health Div of HIV/STD.

After all was over...I discovered the man at the ISDH who oversaw the grievance had a prior sexual relationship with the case manager at the Ft Wayne Aids Task Force I had filed the grievance against. I was flabbergasted to say the least.

My -at the time- current NEW case manager is the one who told me of the past sexual relationship between this ISDH Div of HIV/STD manager and the ATFNE case manager.

IT all suddenly fell into place what had happened. I had at least several dozen conversations with this ISDH manager over the time of the grievance.

Sadly, it is apparent this man went ahead and told the Exec Director of the Aids Task Force in Ft Wayne all the details I told to him.

The exec director used all sorts of dirty tricks in attempts to derail the grievance. I was so sad to see a group and it's director would play such dirty political games.

As a result...I have been relieved of the obligation to be part of the CARE COORDINATION SYSTEM.

If I were a rich man I would have sued both the Aids Task Force and the ISDH. Not only did these people abuse my rights...the manager at the ISDH Div of HIV/STD had the nerve to actually threaten me in an email sent from his desk at work. THIS is what has prompted the ISDH to relieve me of the obligation of being part of the Care Coordination System.

I have made sure everyone from HRSA on down knows what happened..and send them any pertinent information I receive.

AND...I also alerted Greg Manifold (exec director of Aids Task Force, Inc -Ft Wayne, IN) that Paula Lamb had misused items my partner and I donated to the Jack Ryan House(apt bldge owned and operated by the Aids Task Force, Inc -Ft Wayne, IN)as far back as 2003. Mr Manifold chose to ignore the information..AND...see what happened later???

The misuse of funds goes from the ISDH all the way down to the local Aids Care Sites.

Smaller programs like the Archey Aids Foundation and Community Action Aids Team work with little or no funding...SINCE the Aids Task Force has all the grants tied up.

We have been told the Aids Task Force, Inc - Ft Wayne, IN is supposed to lose it's federal funding for at least one term as a result of Paula Lamb's guilty plea. SO FAR..nothing has happened. No doubt the powers that be will sweep this under the rug as well...

SO sad...and then a few of the "favored" ones here in Ft Wayne are pampered by the ATF. It is disgusting..since the ATF uses this people to promote the mistaken appearance the ATF is nothing less that a building full of ANGELS...HA!!!!

This should not be allowed to die out...someone needs to keep digging...PLEASE....


Anonymous said...


When you are talking about the ISDH manager, why not mention names? The only way to get this straightened out is to call out the people responsible for the abuses of the system.


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Anonymous said...

Hello all,

I went to the IE website and pulled up their press releases.

It appears the large donation from the man in Ft Wayne, IN was done as a matching challenge. By that I believe it to mean he would match up to that $270,000(I believe that was the amount)dollar amount. This meant the IE had to get pledges first..before this man would honor his end of the agreement.

In that same press release they state the IE is seeking 200 Indiana residents to give $1,000. each as a way to come up the money needed to have this man give SO much cash.

I wonder how much the IE did raise?

There seems to be a "stall" in the blog. Where is everyone?

Enjoy the holiday,

Anonymous said...


May I suggest, if you haven't already, reporting this to NUVO in Indianapolis? They are good about investigating things, and with the State Dept. of Health and its employees involved, they might take it seriously. Just a thought,


Anonymous said...

Hi Rob,

I seem to recall that I did write to them...and...I'll try again.

I did contact Ted at THE WORD...ha..that was a waste of time. He more or less wrote back...telling me I was JUST LIKE the other "ones" (I wonder exactly who he is referring to?) who write with poison pen letters to get innocent people into trouble. He actually told me to stop bothering him.

After Paula Lamb was sentanced I contacted him again...and he said he did not recall any emails I sent to him previously. I find that disturbing...since this means he must ignore and blow off many other legitimate "tips" regarding wrongdoing.

Ted did say he was "sorry" for blowing me off". He said there was a couple of "girls" who were sending him prank emails...and that must have been around the same time as I wrote to him.

My question is...would a true journalist blow off ALL emails or "tips" for stories because of a few prank emails???

We did notice here...the Aids Task Force Inc may be in a limbo regarding their regular grant sources. The Ft Wayne Journal Gazette printed lists of grants by three major area grantors this week.

One was the Ft Wayne Community Foundation. This group typically gives something to the ATF each grant cycle. NONE this time... Nothing was shown as going to the ATF from the Paul Clarke Foundation either. The same goes for grants given out by the English Bonter, Mitchell Foundation...NOTHING showing as being granted to the ATF. There was a listing for the Foellinger Foundation which showed nothing for the ATF either.

The most recent ATF newsletter had a open appeal for money from the exec director on the front page. This is rather uncommon for the ATF newsletter. It requested that people who may only donate at year end...could and should donate sooner. Many felt this was a tip off that the ATF was going to lose some money as a result of Paula Lamb's sentencing.

The ATF has clout in political circles...It's too bad the image does not fit the actual deeds.

Come on...who else wants to add a few comments regarding these topics?

Best to all,

Anonymous said...

Have you tried to take your case to the Indiana Civil Liberties Union? I agree with Rob's suggestion, NUVO LOVES to hear about State corruption. Don't forget to mention the hiv std director during the aidserve mess. Wasn't that Michael Butler. If I'm not mistaken he now works for a non-profit to prevent homelessness. Almost ironic and very sad, for the homeless he is "helping"?

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Anonymous said...

Have you tried sending your informaiton to the Indiana Inspector General? It can't hurt. If no one else will help try the Indiana Democratic Party. Elections are just around the corner. Also, contact the Indiana Protection and Advocacy Service at If they cannot help, maybe they know someone who can help.

Brendon said...

For some years now I have remained quiet but I can no longer stay quiet. The financial problems of Aidserve existed before Mark St. John took office. When he took charge, the financial records were grossly mismanaged and badly organized (I'm not going to slander any particular person's name but, with certainty, I can say that before St. John's tenure it was blatantly evident that personality battles had imbued the effectiveness of Aidserve-making it stagnant)...For instance, some bills were never entered into the accounting system that was being utilized thus disallowing payment and creating an insurmountable stack of unpaid bills; more important, there was nearly a six week transition period where there was no assigned financial or accounting manager for an already delinquent cash basis accounting system (which was set-up and perceived internally and externally as an accrual basis)...

While Tom (the predecessor to Mark) worked overtime to address many of the issues, his main objective was to aid Mark in assuming the position of Exec. Director...Tom accepted a position at the BMV an left ASI within approximately three weeks of St. John’s hiring...For nearly two months Tom came back to share what he could about the finances...One unfortunate and critically integral part that was missing was a transition in the finance department- the previous Finance Director was not utilized in the transition—In fact, it was strongly encouraged to not contact that person because of disgruntlement- the prevailing suggestion was that a possible sabotage might occur. I was also informed that the services side of the house didn’t get along with the finance side of the house.

For this reason, Mark took the necessary crucial steps and acquired an external CPA and a new accounting manager to "organize" the financial system- the grant income side which was separate from the fundraising department.

Inopportunely, the problem was that Mark (and Tom for that matter) was not honestly informed of the revolving debt of the previous had been borrowed to make payroll 6 months before Mark's tenure and subsequently paid back in good faith...This is nothing extraordinary in that this is a common practice in the business world to fix cash flow for organizations that don't have an external product to sell (this is sometimes called the float- that is until revenue could catch up).

For nonprofits, the fundraising department serves this purpose- it has too raise money to cover service those indirect costs that the grant doesn’t account for. For organizations that are expanding their services, an aggressive fundraising strategy had to be in place- while Garage Party raised a lot of money, much of it was re-issued, by virtue of promised gifts from Aidserve, before “paying Peter.” Again, Mark did a good job here in that he found a fundraiser shortly after he took charge.

The real culprit here is a lack of knowledge- the source of the pay back was the income from previously established reimbursement contracts; some of which were recently renewed just as Mark took the helm and others- such as nearly all of the prevention grants were discontinued. This is where the bubble occurred: “the indirect program costs that were not fully assigned to these grants before they were closed out.” If expenses had been correctly allocated, the original grant amounts would have been completely exhausted. (At this time grant increases could have been requested and ISDH would have, in all likelihood, re-allocated money from the HIV/STD division’s allotted discretionary fund.)

While an individual program’s over-expenses might have been miniscule, the accumulation of several programs was enough to affect the organizations’ cash flow. This unfortunate finding occurred three weeks after the acquisition of an Accounting manager. Mark was unaware of this problem and was operating on the basis that all he had to do was “clean up the grant department and get the bills entered into the system and this would free up the organizations financial situation.” After all, 95% of Aidserve’s income came from reimbursement contract. If properly allocated, all expenses would be paid and the organization would have been solvent.

Unfortunately this was not the case. Each month since May 1999, Aidserve had over extended it services- too much was being offered before programs had been reconciled to their grants. This is no one’s fault- the demand for service was outpacing Aidserve’s ability to provide service; for some years this went on.

Once Mark was informed of the error he immediately made the claim that “client services were to be paid before anything else.” In fact, this is what happened. As money came in from the State in the form of grant reimbursement checks, client services were paid (housing and medical services first, then all other client direct services, ASI payroll was next, then rent- which was too high- and then utilities and office supplies. Travel for some split position employees was also a huge factor in that many employees abused this process.) This resulted in an inability to make pay roll.

When it came time for the executive staff to trim back their salary, Mark and the rest of the staff was willing to miss pay periods to ensure that other employees would receive their pay. While others in the executive staff were paid in excess of $50,000 a year, my salary started in January at $28,000 and gradually increased to $36,000 in April this was my ending salary (although I practically lived at Aidserve…many nights I stayed there working through solutions). Regardless, it never came to this point.

Another looming problem early in Marks’ tenure was that some 60% of the reimbursement grants/contracts were ending in March and had to be renewed. Yet, before they could be renewed, they had to be reconciled. When the reconciliation took place, the bottom fell-out. Fortunately Ed of ISDH worked to add money to the contracts to cover any over expenses- Ed knew what mess things had become. This allowed Aidserve to continue to function.

More importantly, and fortunately, Fifth Third bank stepped in and provided a short term revolving line of credit with gradual pay-back terms to avoid getting ASI back into the same situation.

In April and May 2001 ASI was getting back on track. The only contention was that the carried over expenses from the previous were still very large despite the cost savings that had occurred- many people keep calling on Aidserve to provide more services and pay more indirect costs. More promises of ASI benevolence were afforded to these expectations and the old problem refused to go away_ hence the infamous quote by Mark “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

The revolving line was coming due and the other 40% of reimbursement contracts were being initiated in July in reduced fashion- there’d be less money in an already hampered cash flow.

Once I realized the magnitude of the problem I resigned in August and went to graduate school. Shortly after, I was hired by ISDH to audit the Aidserve accounts to see what, if anything, could be done (ASI staff immediately treated me like Benedict Arnold because they thought I bailed on them- I didn’t, I just wanted to see the root of the problem and find a solution). Unfortunately, the State’s hands were tied because of federal and state regulations, there was nothing that could be done- it is illegal to back in a previous year’s cost into new grants- that’ called double dipping and carries a criminal sentence. Aidserve needed someone to gift them an unrestricted grant to stay open. That would have replenished their bank account and allowed for them to start all over.

My final resolve, is that I worked very hard to save Aidserve but the problem was much bigger than the moment. More significantly, I truly feel that the State wanted to have a new partner; the sour relationships and drama connected to Aidserve had run its course.

Mark leadership, in this instance was not the problem or deserves the he did all that he could do. What this problem called for was a unique perception for all involved- unfortunately this didn’t happen before he blame game started. The problem of HIV isn’t going away and we need flexible insights to help develop better nonprofit accounting for reimbursement contract…this is the one hope from this fiasco- it doesn’t have to be repeated.

If you have any questions or comments, I can be reached at


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Anonymous said...

Hello All,

I wanted to add a bit of information I received yesterday from a local Ft Wayne grant GIVER. I was told the investigation into the ATF is going to have some negative outcome for the ATF.

That is all I know...and since it is only word of mouth of course it cannot be taken as gospel truth.

IT does however beg the this merely the internal investigation by the grant giver..>OR< if this relates to an IRS investigation?

We know an request to investigate the ATF FT Wayne was forwarded to the IRS by Senator Lugar's office in Indianapolis.

Many are curious to see if the theft of Paula Lamb(who is the ex-office employee of the Aids Task Force, Inc sentanced to jail time for her nearly $100,000.00 theft from the ATF) will cause the ATF to lose a cycle of grants. According to grant guidelines this is what should have already happened.

The blog seems to have died down...there must be something else happening.....

I did also hear the ISDH has cracked down on abuse of the out of pocket reimbursement to people who attend the HIV related meetings in Indianapolis.

You all have a great day,

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...


I mentioned the name of another local (Fort Wayne) area AIDS Agency in an earlier listing.

I became acquainted with ARCHEY AIDS FOUNDATION nearly two years ago through the man who head the Community Action Aids Team.

I have had several conversations with the executive director of ARCHEY AIDS FOUNDATION over that two year period.

I actually met Rev Donald Archey(founder/executive director/chairman of the board of directors of Archey Aids Foundation) during the late spring of this year(2006).

Donald told me about a youth group he ran at the building he operates on Miner Street here in Ft Wayne. I went over on a Sunday afternoon to see this group. It was nice weather..and approximately forty kids were playing outside.

I was impressed...and began volunteering one evening a week. I chose Wednesdays as the day to help...and provided a meal for the kids that evening as well.

Donald Archey asked me if I would become his treasurer for Archey Aids Foundation. This was after people I know -who own a large local company- offered to provide finacial assistance to AAF.

After going to bank(Tower Bank, Ft Wayne) to have my name added on to the accounts I was given a few bank statements by Donald Archey.

I was SHOCKED to see funds from the account were being used to pay his personal bills. I mean things like Comcast cable/internet/phone at his personal home on Swinney Ave, Ft Wayne. Also many online payments to Donald's personal credit cards were shown on these statements.

There is SO much more...and it all stinks!!! When I questioned him regarding these disburements he told me he has an IRS lien against him on SS disability..SO..he cannot show income...this is why he uses AAF funds to pay his personal bills..IS BECAUSE he cannot have income showing in his own name.

Not only did he tell me of an IRS lien...but also a local legal judgment for and NSF check back in 1997 which he never cleaned up.

I have forwarded a request for the Indiana State Attorney General to investigate Archey Aids Foundation for fraud.

I also forwarded a letter to the IRS.

I assisted Archey in filing his 8734 IRS form. This is the form to make AAF a permanent NFP agency. AAF's Advance Ruling Period ended 9/30/2006.

Turns out AAF has NEVER filed a return...even though it appears as if AAF went over the $25,000 limit of money coming into the agency.

It also is apparent no other person besides the founder/executive director/chairman of the board-ALL ONE PERSON...Donald Archey. Has ever seen the actual accounts.

As a member (only one according to Donald Archey) of his board...Donald asked me to approve AAF spending over $4,000.00 to print a book that Donald Archey wrote. I told Archey that it would not be appropriate-or legal- to use PUBLIC FUNDS to print a book by Donald Archey.

Donald then had the publisher write a letter...(email) hopes Archey's board (as I said..only me to my knowledge) would relent and authorize the expenditure.

I wonder now....IF Donald knew AAF would not pass the Advance Ruling Period test...?

This is a sad day for those who suffer with HIV/AIDS.

SOME people turn HIV/AIDS into an income also appears as if automobiles were purchased with agency funds as well.... I saw where Donald was paying his GEICO car insurance bill online with the AAF account as well...on top of the other questionable items.

I told Donald the only way to get cash from AAF would be to use an expense report(I gave him one in September/2006) because legally all we could give him was reimbursement for his out of pocket expenses.

He again told me..that since he was on a SS disability..and the IRS lien...AND..the judgement..he could not show any income whatsoever...

AND..we all think the deception is with the BIG goes down to the small change as well.

EVERY agency I contacted here in Ft Wayne to get either cash or services for AAF told me Donald Archey had a HORRIBLE track record..and was not deemed credible.

EVEN the Community Harvest Foodbank told me Donald had a LONG over due bill of at least $300.00 with that agency...SO old it had to be written off.

Needless to friends and I have nothing to do with AAF. I was able to find out the Boys and Girls Club...AND... another agency called WELLSPRING will take the children for their own afterschool programs.

OH..even the Allen County Drug and Alchohol Consortium told me AAF had violated the last grant by cancelling a program(Let's Talk) shortly after The Allen County Drug and Alcohol Consortium awarded them a $3,500 grant for that program(Let's Talk). I drove by the building at 2104 Miner St and saw the banner for Let's Talk had been removed. No doubt the grantor made sure this happened...NOW...AAF will owe them the grant money back.

SO much more...and not enough room/time to do it today.

I feel so bad that someone could use kids as a way to get people to give cash...and then to misuse that cash in such a ruthless manner.

When I contacted the IRS I was told the IRS does not require the SS number of someone asking to begin a NFP agency. I was dumbfounded....BUT..the lady told me once the IRS investigates...if there is fraud..the IRS will take the NFP status away from AAF.

More later...please contact me directly if you want to see

Anonymous said...

Sad days are upon us. Mark St. John, a known scoundrel, is being allowed to manage one of the most important movements in our time. Can someone tell me why this man, who was implicated in one of the largest AIDS/Gay scandals in indiana is being allowed to manage or run multiple organizations including Indiana Equality?

IE has either gotten or is about to get a quarter of a million dollars and most of it will flow through St. John's hands. Why? With the rumors and stories of how Indiana Equality is corrupt and mismanaged, why is this donor giving them this money and why is it being spent by a man who has harmed our community in the past?

Will no one dig into this story and expose IE and St. John for the scurrilous parasites that they are?

How do we know that St. John won't again "Rob Peter to pay Paul" especially if Paul is his salary and Peter is the rights of gays and lesbians in Indiana?

IE has been touting it's new leadership, but they are nothing but yes men to St. John and Kathy Sarris. Sarris isn't gone from IE, she's just set up shop where the money is going.

I have heard that IE pays St. John over 75% of what they raise - and let me tell you, they are always out there raising money. Now they're close to this windfall from this sorely mininformed man from Ft. Wayne. Let's hope he comes to his senses before St. John is given another opportunity to screw those he's supposed to serve.

St. John has some skeletons in his closet that someone needs to dig out before its to late. Not only did he mismanage ASI, but he's also a drunk with a few DUIs under his belt.

There are many of us that really want to work and stop the attacks on us but people like St. John always want to control and manipulate us. And if you don't do what St. John says, he backstabs you and cuts you down.

During the election, St. John and his partner in crime John Joanet disparaged another local gay group to the candidate that they were raising money for. Why? Because that group has refused to work with IE and St. John because they don't want to be told when to breathe.

Are these the kind of people we want running the state's largest gay group? The "you're either with us or you'll be destroyed" type politics proved disastrous for Bush, why would it work here?

Wake up people. Stop giving your money to IE so they can line St. John's pockets. What has St. John accomplished for all the treasure he's take from our community?

Let's hope that this website will start looking for the truth and exposing IE and ST. John for the parasites that they are. They are selling us out and gay people are giving them the means to do it by not asking questions and demanding accountability.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...


I enjoyed our conversation this morning/afternoon. I can assure you that all that is in my power will be done to see that this is not covered up or blown over yet again. It is now in the proper hands. I'm looking forward to receiving any additional information that you may be able to provide. Thanks,


Anonymous said...

Hello Rob,

THANKS for taking the time to speak with me yesterday(Monday 1/29/2007). I am so glad someone is actually taking me seriously...and with a sincere pledge to be sure the people who are responsible for covering up what happened to me while a client of the Aids Task Force, Ft Wayne, IN.

While most of the people responsible for covering up the facts around that grievance are no longer working at the remains...and he is the one responsible for making sure my concerns were buried as deeply as possible.

It appears as if his ongoing "affairs" with other ISDH, local health dept, and other care site staff is finally going to catch up with him.

Again...please contact me if you would like a copy of that CD and letter I received last week regarding this issue. I hope there is a way to have it attached to the blog...

Please contact me at I will make sure you get a copy via an email. I was able to transfer the CD to an I-TUNE file. I made a scan of the letter which arrived with the CD..and can forward that as well.

Interestingly...the CD and letter were mailed from Ft Wayne...and the return address appears to be the Jack Ryan House...which is owned/operated by the be someone there is a friend of the person who's name is mentioned in the CD recording...It appears as if the lady who's name is mentioned on the CD..may have been dumped by the management guy at the ISDH.....What's that phrase..."Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned."...

You all have a great evening,

Anonymous said...

Hello all,

I forgot to mention before....that according to what I saw online(federal prison inmate search) Paula Lamb was due to be released from prison a few days ago.

Her release date was supposed to be 1/29/2007. She ended up serving her time in Danbury Connecticut. I do believe that is the same prison Squeaky Fromme(sp) is serving her life sentance for the assasination attempt on President Ford.

Some refer to Danbury as powderpuff prison...I trust Paula enjoyed her time there.

The judge had ordered her to spend the time(ALL SIX MONTHS)at a county prison in Indiana.

I wonder how long it will take Paula to repay the $95,000.00. It almost makes stealing seem like an appealing way to earn a living. appears as if things at the ISDH may be heating up.

It's apparent some people want to clog the blog about ArcheyAidsFoundation...with stuff regarding me and my dealings with the AidsTaskForce...when actually that was spoken about on this blog. is apparent they want to take the attention away from what AAF did...and so be it. I guess I have stepped on many sooner or later people would "shoot the messenger" instead of looking at the real problems.

I find it very interesting that by merely...sitting at my computer could find out so much background about the people/places AAF had been over the last few years. I also was able to learn about many people who have attempted to help AAF be a credible agency....but..alas this would mean the CEO would need to be playing the same game...NO WAY... we are...throwing stones...and it all avoids the main issues...HIV/AIDS money...where it goes...and what's happening with it.

People want to attack me and my long term partner of over twenty years. Merely because I write about things that I know are true..and going on right now...

We lead a very quiet life...and really don't care to involve ourselves with many people. If you can get some sort of satifaction in knowing you can hurt me be I the end...the facts speak for themselves. AND...these people that attack me only give vague statements...then don't have the guts/integrity to leave a name...oh so brave of you?

I've not hidden who I was..or what I was saying behind "anonymous". It's easy to talk when no one knows who is saying courageous would you be leaving your names?

The dirt goes all the way from ISDH...down to Archey Aids Foundation...with many stops along the way.

I know there is trouble brewing again in the offices of HIV/STD at the ISDH. It comes down to ethics...and abuses of authority and position...

If I write to this blog about this or is going to come out sooner or later....the same with ARCHEY and AAF.

In the end all the troubles...both at the ISDH and the HIV/AIDS service agencies....will give people another reason to stop giving money for HIV/AIDS related agencies...or services.

I have been told another newspaper is doing a story on AAF/DONALD we shall see what comes of that.

Tomorrow is another the life of HIV/AIDS abuses in Indiana...what a thrill....

More another time...

Anonymous said...

An update on Paula Lamb

Intersting.... Paula Lamb is working at a local restuarant as a shift supervisor. I am also told she deals with money at his restaurant.

WELL...either these people don't know what's being in jail for theft...or..they trust her enough to give her access to restaurant money.

For Paula's privacy I won't disclose where she's working.

I guess have to give her a bit of credit for having the guts to stick around the Ft Wayne area after such a public scandal.

I watched Paula being sentenced in court. The only remorse I saw was when they told her she could not avoid jail time......