Michael Weinstein

Michael Weinstein, the California-based author of the Ohio prescription drug ballot issue, is the president and founder of a tax-exempt, billion-dollar organization, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which is headquartered in Los Angeles. Nearly 80 percent of AHF's revenue comes from selling prescription drugs. AHF's pharmacy revenue totaled $801 million in 2015 – an increase of more than 400 percent since 2010.i

Funding an Ohio Ballot Initiative

Why is Michael Weinstein bankrolling a 2017 ballot initiative in Ohio? According to the Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue website: 

"In November 2017, Ohioans will vote on a flawed, deceptive ballot issue. The proposed law is a bad deal for Ohio and Ohioans. It imposes unworkable price controls on prescription drugs purchased by state government. If passed, it will lead to bureaucratic delays, lawsuits and higher costs for taxpayers." 

Read more here.

Five Facts to Know

1. Makes revenue from selling prescription drugs 

Nearly 80 percent of AHF's revenue comes from selling prescription drugs through its own pharmacies. AHF's pharmacy revenue totaled $801 million in 2015 – an increase of more than 400 percent since 2010.i 

2. Engages in litigation to advance interests 

The Weinstein-led AHF (and its subsidiaries) has a documented history of frequently engaging in litigation to advance its interests – having filed at least 52 lawsuits against taxpayer-funded government agencies, including three lawsuits against government agencies in Ohio.ii 

3. Criticized for spending millions of tax-exempt dollars for political causes 

Michael Weinstein has been criticized for spending millions of tax-exempt dollars generated by AHF to pay for political campaigns and causes unrelated to the mission of his foundation.iii  This includes the 2017 so-called "Measure S" campaign in Los Angeles, a municipal zoning issue that was intended to restrict land-use, planning and development. Weinstein’s organization provided nearly 99 percent of the $4.6 million raised to support the passage of Measure S, which according to the City Administrative Officer, would have cost the city millions of dollars in lost revenue.iv Measure S was soundly defeated by voters in March 2017 by a 70-30 percent margin.v

4. Caught misleading voters during a previous campaign 

In early 2017, the Measure S campaign received a cease-and-desist letter from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department for an "unauthorized and unlawful" mailing that was "misleading the public." The person who helped write Los Angeles' rent-control ordinance said, "They’re reaching new depths of deception...That’s pretty shallow. It's not going to deliver on any of these promises."vi 

5. Criticized by prominent HIV/AIDS activists 

Many prominent HIV/AIDS activists have become increasingly critical of Michael Weinstein for his tactics, stances on issues and use of AHF funds for political purposes, as well as for his publicly stated opposition and campaign against a medication that has been scientifically proven to be effective by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reduce the risk of acquiring the HIV/AIDS virus and to treat the disease.vii 

Michael's Neighbors: What They're Saying

EDITORIAL, 2/25/2017

"It's so puzzling that Weinstein is using his nonprofit and the money it brings in to bankroll Measure S, a deceptive and draconian ballot initiative on city land-use policy that has absolutely nothing to do with healthcare."


World's Largest AIDS Organization Just Flushed Millions Down the Toilet 

"Critics have long questioned the motives of Weinstein and AHF, which has its headquarters on the 21st story of a Hollywood office tower. AHF has been a years-long legal battle with a developer who wants to build two luxury towers adjacent to AHF's offices — a lawyer for the towers' developer told the Los Angeles Times that Weinstein's reason for opposition was that his own view would be obscured by the skyscrapers."

BY HILLEL ARON, 04/04/16

"He's angered many of his fellow AIDS activists by speaking out against PrEP, the first HIV-prevention pill that purports to be 99 percent effective if taken every day." 

"[He] lives in a house up in the Hollywood Hills, on one of those winding streets high above the glittering buildings." 

Cleve Jones, prominent LGBT activist, who came up with the idea for the AIDS Memorial Quilt:

"I am consistently angered and confused and disgusted by his prevention campaigns, which seem to encourage a stigma against homosexuality."

Michael Weinstein, himself:

"Whatever we’re doing is between us and our lawyers" (Los Angeles Times, 2/24/17)


Multiple AHF Reports:  Report 1  | Report 2  | Report 3  | Report 4  | Report 5 

ii AIDS Task Force Of Greater Cleveland, vs. Ohio Department Of Health, Case# CV-17-877839, Court Of Common Pleas Cuyahoga County, Filed March 24, 2017.
Written Closing Argument of the Ohio Department of Health, May 30, 2017
Judge Sherrie Miday Opinion and Judgment, June 8, 2017
Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction, Filed 3/24/17, is Denied, June 9, 2017
Eddie Hamilton, William Booth and David Baker v. Theodore E. Wymyslo, M.D., Director of ODH, Case # 11CVH-11-13646, Court of common Pleas, Franklin County, Filed November 2, 2011.
Tracy Jones, William Booth, Daniel Darland, and LaTonya Thurman v. OH Secretary of State John Husted, Case #2016-20, Ohio Supreme Court, Filed January 6, 2016. 

iii New York Times, 4/26/2017 

iv  Multiple: Sacramento Bee, 2/23/17 | Los Angeles Times, 2/25/17 | Los Angeles Times, 2/21/17 | The Advocate, 3/8/17

Ballotpedia.org, Los Angeles, California, Changes to Laws Governing the General Plan and Development, Measure S, March 2017 

vi LA Weekly, 2/25/2017 

vii  Multiple: LA Independent, 1/20/17 | Newsweek, 10/17/14 | BuzzFeed, 6/8/15 | CDC Webpage | CDC Webpage | FDA Webpage

Occupation: Health Care CEO

Michael Weinstein

Information from cited sources below