October 26, 2013 at 12:48 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
NAPWA bankruptcy case reopened for trademark sale
Frank Oldham, NAPWA, National Association of People With AIDS, National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, gay news, Washington Blade

Former President of the National Association of People with AIDS Frank Oldham, Jr.. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

In a little-noticed development, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in Maryland last month agreed to reopen the Chapter 7 bankruptcy case of the National Association of People With AIDS three months after the court closed the case and ruled more than $750,000 owed to creditors could not be paid.

According to court documents, Judge Paul Mannes agreed to a motion by bankruptcy trustee Laura Margulies requesting that the case be reopened to allow NAPWA to sell its trademark for the name “National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day” to the recently formed organization called Health HIV, which is located at 2000 S St., N.W., near Dupont Circle.

“This asset is unlisted in the Debtor’s Petition; however, the Trustee and Buyer have agreed upon a value and entered into a purchase agreement,” according to an Oct. 3 “notice of private sale” of the trademark issued by Margulies. It lists the agreed upon purchase price as $3,000.

The notice says any party objecting to the trustee’s proposed sale must do so in writing and submit it to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Greenbelt, Md., “on or before Oct. 28, 2013.”

NAPWA shut its doors last February at the time it filed for bankruptcy after having served as one of the nation’s leading advocates for people with HIV and AIDS for 30 years. The shutdown took place after its longtime president and CEO Frank Oldham left the organization under a cloud three months earlier.

The bankruptcy filing says Oldham owed NAPWA $88,360 in an unexplained “accounts receivable claim.” Oldham and the NAPWA board members that initiated the bankruptcy have declined to comment on why Oldham owed the organization money. They also have declined to say whether the money Oldham reportedly owes was related to a decision by the board to ask the Montgomery County, Md., State’s Attorney’s office to investigate missing or unaccounted for funds from the group’s bank accounts.

Health HIV came under fire from some AIDS activists in May when news surfaced that it appointed Oldham and four other former NAPWA officials to a steering committee for a Health HIV project called Positively Healthy. At the time he joined the project Oldham said the new venture would pick up where NAPWA left off to become a key advocate for people with AIDS.

But critics argued that people who presided over the financial collapse of NAPWA should not be placed in charge of a new organization claiming to be representing people with AIDS. The criticism prompted Oldham to resign from the steering committee.

Brian Hujdich, executive director of Health HIV, said none of the people from NAPWA would have any involvement in the financial aspects of the organization and would be limited to policy-related issues.

Hujdich couldn’t immediately be reached for comment about his group’s arrangement to purchase the trademark for National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

1 Comment
  • Thanks, Lou, for staying on top of NAPWA’s continuing legal proceedings. I’ve blogged about your story at my site and point out the Health HIV could have saved themselves $3,000 for the trademark, and additional lawyer and court fees, and simply created a new name for the gay AIDS awareness day.

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