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Porn trade group files complaint against backer of anti-development initiative

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It says the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been spending too much on ballot measures

For a ballot measure that won’t appear before voters until March, a surprising number of people have weighed in on the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, from mayors to celebrities (maybe). Now, even the porn business is having its say.

The Real Deal reports that the Free Speech Coalition, a trade association for the adult film industry, has filed a formal complaint against the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which is the primary financial backer of the controversial ballot initiative. The complaint, filed with the Treasurer Inspector General for Tax Administration, alleges the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, is violating the restrictions of its non-profit status by funding ballot measures such as the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative that have little obvious connection to its mission of providing healthcare to HIV/AIDS patients.

Going into Tuesday’s election, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation,was the top political donor in Los Angeles, having spent over $20 million on a pair of statewide propositions and about $1.5 million on the anti-development initiative. Free Speech Coalition director Eric Paul Leue, a Berlin native who was the 2014 recipient of the Mr. LA Leather title, tells the Real Deal that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s spending is “out of control.”

The trade group recently stood in firm opposition to Proposition 60, one of the two statewide measures supported by the foundation. If passed, it would have required pornographic actors to use condoms during film shoots. Voters rejected both propositions backed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation,.

The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative proposes a two-year moratorium on most major development projects in Los Angeles and would require the city to strictly adhere to zoning rules as they are currently written. The initiative was proposed by AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein, who has been an outspoken critic of increasingly dense urban planning in Los Angeles—as well as the large residential project planned across the street from the foundation’s headquarters.

In opposing certain development projects in Hollywood, its attorneys have argued that building luxury housing is detrimental to people with HIV/AIDS.

“The over development of these high-end buildings that cater to high-end clientele crowd out existing and potentially new affordable housing and thus dislocates folks with HIV with limited means,” Liza Brereton, AIDS Healthcare Foundation in-house counsel, told the city’s planning commission in August.

As of Friday, no decision had been reached on Free Speech Coalition’s complaint, but if the foundation is found to have overstepped its bounds as a nonprofit, the consequences could be severe. A nonprofit lawyer recently told LA Weekly that the organization could lose its tax exemption “for not being closer to their mission.”