A local AIDS nonprofit has payment problems with a former employee. How far do the problems go? | North Carolina | Indy Week
Pin It

A local AIDS nonprofit has payment problems with a former employee. How far do the problems go? 

Randy Light is asking Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina for payment.

Photo by Alex Boerner

Randy Light is asking Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina for payment.

In October of last year, Mary K Mart hung up her red wig and high heels. She was done hosting drag-bingo fundraising events for a nonprofit she'd worked with for 12 years.

In October of this year, Mary, the alter ego of Randy Light, received a cease-and-desist letter from her former employer's attorney, demanding that he stop disparaging the organization.

"You are entitled to your own opinions and to broadcast them far and wide," Sarah L. Ford, an attorney with Parker Poe, wrote on Oct. 28. "But the law does not allow you to make damaging statements (verbally or in print) that you know to be false."

There's no question that the outspoken Light has made and continues to make disparaging statements about the Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina—on Facebook, on the nonprofit's Guidestar page, to the local media. The issue is whether those statements are, in fact, false.

Light's central allegation, that the nonprofit owes him and other employees money, is an agreed-upon fact. But on social media, Light has portrayed the alliance as a shambles, plagued by an indifferent board of directors and declining revenues and unwilling or unable to meet its obligations. The nonprofit, on the other hand, says it's getting back on its feet, and Light's online vitriol isn't helping.

Since 1989, the alliance has provided care, prevention and advocacy services to people living with HIV/AIDS. For most of its existence, the alliance's reputation has been sterling; the drag bingos and other events it has hosted, along with grants from the state and local governments, have raised millions of dollars that go to case management, housing and feeding people with HIV, and providing free HIV testing and prevention advice. But after the Great Recession took hold, fundraising dried up, and by 2014, this once-renowned charity—a Raleigh-based institution that in 2012 had an operating budget of $2 million—hit the rocks. After an accounting scandal in which the alliance fell behind on its payroll taxes by nearly $210,000, the state and Wake County pulled roughly $400,000 in funding in September 2014. The alliance was forced to furlough its staff for nearly two months, and now its leaders are trying to rebuild.

Light, meanwhile, has been complaining loudly that the nonprofit is more than a year late in paying him $1,465 in accrued vacation time. The nonprofit's board chairperson, Melanie Dubis, acknowledges that this is true. She says the alliance will pay Light and nine other employees who are owed money before the end of this year.

But Light says that's not good enough. "I wish the agency the best, I hope they continue to grow and thrive and provide these needed services," he says. "But they should have already taken care of the folks who were with them a year ago when they were going through this huge financial crisis."

If anything, the cease-and-desist letter made him all the more adamant that the alliance be called to account.

"I feel I have been as patient and quiet as I need to be at this point," Light wrote last month to alliance board member Barbara Boney Campbell in a private Facebook message, which he then supplied to the INDY. "I have lost faith in many in this community... and will continue to post as I see necessary... and I have taken the high road only to be disrespected."

"You know that you don't look as good as you could when you write about it on Facebook for other people to see," Campbell replied. "Airing dirty laundry in public is never the right thing to do."

Comments (12)

Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in North Carolina



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

I am interested in one of those abandoned homes. My husband and I are hard working and just tired of …

by Tammi L. Wiggs on Abandoned mobile homes plague North Carolina (North Carolina)

$10 an hour is not a very good figure. Need to be enhanced with time. Regards

by piercen54 on Half of North Carolina’s home health aides make less than $10 an hour. That needs to change (North Carolina)

Pay to play is alive and well in NC...only time voters matter is at election...Then the lies begin.

by Tony Dockery on What’s Standing Between Rural North Carolina and Reliable Internet Service? (North Carolina)

Jackson is just another republican creep who likes his slave labor...I am not surprised by this....This is how they govern......The …

by Tony Dockery on The U.S. Department of Labor Hits a State Senator’s Farm with a Conspicuously Small Fine (North Carolina)

Who are Jackson Farming Company's customers? Seems like this is the only place to apply pressure.

by Donald Chartier on The U.S. Department of Labor Hits a State Senator’s Farm with a Conspicuously Small Fine (North Carolina)

Comments

I am interested in one of those abandoned homes. My husband and I are hard working and just tired of …

by Tammi L. Wiggs on Abandoned mobile homes plague North Carolina (North Carolina)

$10 an hour is not a very good figure. Need to be enhanced with time. Regards

by piercen54 on Half of North Carolina’s home health aides make less than $10 an hour. That needs to change (North Carolina)

© 2017 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation