Designer Kenneth Cole out as chairman of AIDS charity over possible fraud
NEW YORK — Fashion designer Kenneth Cole has resigned as chairman of the board of the AIDS charity amfAR.
The group's board of trustees said Cole and four other trustees agreed to “graciously” resign Wednesday after the board implemented term limits. Cole had served longer than the new limits that were adopted.
But Cole's move also comes as federal prosecutors in Manhattan look into financial dealings in 2015 among amfAR, Harvey Weinstein and the American Repertory Theater.
Authorities are trying to find out if fraud occurred when $600,000 raised at an amfAR auction went to the theater company that had produced Weinstein's musical “Finding Neverland.”
Cole was a leader of amfAR, which stands for American Foundation for AIDS Research, at the time.
In a statement Thursday, the group didn't mention the fraud allegation, saying only that Cole had served the group with “extraordinary dedication.”
“Under his leadership we have raised hundreds of millions of dollars for AIDS research, had a profound impact on millions of people's lives and gotten closer to our ultimate goal of finding a cure for this insidious disease,” the statement read.
Cole has had a long relationship with amfAR, joining its board in 1987. He was elected vice chairman in 2002 and chairman of the board three years later. He has also designed the group's advertising, including the “We All Have AIDS” public service campaign in 2005.