Charities, organizer head to court over AIDS-ride dispute

By Kim Curtis Associated Press Writer
Monday January 14, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO – The battle of the bike coasts into a courtroom Monday as the organizer of the California AIDS Ride and two charities try to settle their differences over a new bike-a-thon planned for this summer. 

Pallotta Teamworks, the AIDS Ride organizer for the past eight years, has sued the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center to stop the competing ride, which is scheduled just two weeks before the AIDS Ride. 

The nonprofit agencies planned the AIDS/LifeCycle Ride after accusing Pallotta of overspending and mismanaging last year’s event. 

They received just 50 cents of every dollar raised by riders, who spend a week riding 575 miles down Highway 1. 

Expenses generally should not exceed 35 cents per dollar, according to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. 

Pallotta acknowledged it ran 8 percent or 9 percent over budget, but said the charities are overstepping their bounds. The company’s contract with the charities specifically prohibits them from organizing their own bike-a-thon. 

Pallotta President Steve Bennett said two competing rides will alienate riders and will further shrink revenue for the charities.