The office of Illinois Attorney Lisa Madigan has filed a lawsuit against Christopher DeChant of the pnce nationally syndicated HIV Talk Radio Project, and Kim Leffert, a member of the group's board of directors, claiming that they misappropriated more than $1.4 million of the organization's funding.
The suit asserts that DeChant, the executive producer and former host of 'AWARE Talk Radio,' and Leffert signed almost two dozen checks from the organization's account between February 1999 and April 2004. Madigan's office further alleges that the checks were made payable to New World Media—a fictitious company.
DeChant and Leffert, both of Chicago, turned over a document to investigators that purportedly showed approval of New World Media's services by the organization's board in 1998. However, actual meeting minutes that were discovered later never mentioned the ghost company.
According to a representative from Madigan's office, an anonymous source provided a tip regarding what was allegedly taking place.
Windy City Times attempted to reach DeChant as well as AWARE Talk Radio, but did not receive a response by press time. Leffert, however, said that she cannot talk about the lawsuit because she has not received the complaint.
'I can't comment on what I haven't seen,' attorney Leffert said.Read more story below....
The HIV Talk Radio Project promotes itself as a non-profit agency dedicated to health promotion communications through the production and distribution of AWARE Talk Radio ( a 30-minute program ) , audio news releases and other items. Aware Talk Radio is broadcast to more than 400 stations and reaches approximately 15 million people.
According to the complaint, DeChant sent a letter to the project's affiliates on May 10 informing them that, as of May 31, the radio show would end 'after 14 years on the air.'
Prior to founding The HIV Talk Radio Project, DeChant was a Vice President with Ruder-Finn, Inc./Chicago from June 1986 to December 1992.
DeChant and Leffert will have 30 days to respond to the complaint once they are served with it.