Report: Nonprofit behind Calif. rent control measures has track record as “slumlord”

Foundation founder Michael Weinstein has been a major political activist in California, yet an investigation into his foundation’s housing work paints a dark picture.

For several years, the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation has, despite its name, presented as a pro-tenant group to the public, advocating against evictions. 

Yet a report from the Los Angeles Times reveals a different story surrounding the foundation, one filled not only with evictions, but putrid living conditions for its tenants. 


The backstory: The multi-billion dollar AIDS Healthcare Foundation operates over 730 treatment clinics across the globe. 

  • It also jumped into the housing sector six years ago and has become one of the biggest landlords on Skid Row. 
  • The foundation was founded by Michael Weinstein, who has used it to push his political agenda by funding recent ballot measures in California for rent control, a housing development freeze and mandating condoms in adult films, among others. 
  • Weinstein’s political advocacy has made him a target, with the California Apartment Association funding a ballot initiative that would effectively bar Weinstein from funneling his organization’s money to ballot measures. 

The big picture: According to a recent report from the LA Times, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation owns properties in Los Angeles, managing nearly 1,500 units with another 467 under development. The foundation has also acquired buildings in Florida, Georgia, New York and Texas. 

  • While the foundation publicly touts its own renovation work, it has a poor track record in three of its buildings on Skid Row – the Baltimore, King Edward and Madison. 
  • The LA Times found squalid living conditions in the buildings, which include 32 complaints made in the King Edward since it was purchased in 2018. The city only had five complaints on file for the previous five years before the foundation bought the building. 
  • Such complaints have come because of exposed electrical wiring, painted-over fire sprinklers, missing smoke detectors and inoperable doors and windows. 
  • More serious issues include black mold, nests of cockroaches, maggots, plumbing breaks and a radiator explosion. 
  • Complaints are made against the foundation’s buildings at a rate three times higher than buildings owned by other Skid Row nonprofits. 
  • The foundation has also evicted tenants for owing a few hundred dollars and has sued nearly 70 tenants for back rent in small claims court.
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