Judge finds NJ. borough violated patients privacy
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Popp, ofWillowick, about 10 miles
east of Cleveland, was arrested
Thursday, Feb. 1.
Popp's attorney, John P Kilroy of
Euclid, Ohio, had asked that Popp
be kept in a hospital because of his
mental condition, rather than he
"He's an internationally respected researcher," Kilroy said. "1 don't
think he'd pose any risk to ilee."
Kilroy said Popp is an anthropologist and until December had a contract with the Geneva-based World
Health Organization, working
sometimes in England but mainly in
Geneva and Africa.
Gary D. Arbeznik, assistant U.S.
attorney in Cleveland, said an arrest
warrant was issued in London on
Jan. IS contending Popp mailed
about 20,000 diskettes from that city
about Dec. 11.
The U.S. attorney's office in Cleveland said the diskettes had information on acquired immune deficiency
syndrome lor hospitals, researchers
By MELANIE BURNEY
CAMDEN, N.J. (AP)-A federal
judge's ruling that holds a municipality responsible because a police
officer disclosed that a resident
had AIDS could have far-reaching
impact on confidentiality cases
around the country, some observers say.
U.S. District Judge Stanley S.
Brotman ruled that the Borough of
Runnemede and one of its officers
are liable for damages for disclosing to a resident that her neighbor
had acquired immune deficiency
"This case would conform and
expand where I think the law is
heading—that is a duty to maintain confidentiality and that it can
only be breached where there's a
clear and present danger to a third
party," said Larry Gostin, executive director ofthe American Society of Law and Medicine,
The ruling marks the first decision addressing the need for pa
tient confidentiality outside an institution and established the privacy rights of not only the AIDS
victim, but also their families,
said Theodore M. Lieverman, the
"The panic sparked by AIDS
was widely known ..." Brotman
wrote in a 3fi-page opinion. He
said in his ruling Monday, Jan. 29,
that it is "obvious" police need
training to understand about the
confidentiality of AIDS victims.
An earlier settlement among
other parties in the same case
calls for the borough of Barring-
ton to implement by Feb. 22 an
AIDS confidentiality policy. It
must also provide training for its
police, medical and emergency
personnel on the transmission of
AIDS and how to protect themselves and private citizens,
The judge said that because
such a policy was not in place in
Runnemede, the borough is liable
for damages. A jury will deter
mine later the amount of damages
the municipality will he assessed
and whether another defendant in
the ease should be held liable.
Gostin said some cases have
been filed around the country
charging police departments with
breaching the privacy of AIDS patients. Hesaid Brotman's ruling is
believed to be the first of its kind
involving a municipality.
this where there's liability should
wake municipalities up" said
Gostin, an associate professor at
Harvard's School of Public
In New Jersey. puhli. schools
are required by law to have AIDS
policies, but local police departments and municipalities are exempt from that requirement
The ruling steins from a 198,
civil complaint filed on behalf ot
the wife of an AIDS patient and
their four children The family
was humiliated and ostracized in
its community after the husband'*:
condition was disclosed by a borough police officer, the suit
The woman's husband had tested positive for the HIV virus, according to Lieverman. He died in
Sept. 1988, said the attorney, who
did not know the cause of the
The plaintiffs husband told
Barrington police in March 1987
he was infected with the AIDS virus. He had been arrested on an
outstanding fugitive warrant. The
warrant was dropped and the husband was released.
Later that same day, the man's
wife was involved in a car accident as she left her Runnemede
home, according to the complaint.
When Barrington Detective
George Preen and Runnemede Patrolman Russell Smith arrived at
the scene. Smith allegedly told the
woman's neighbor that the woman's husband had AIDS, the suit
The neighbor, Rita DiAngelo, al
so named in the complaint, was an
employee of the local school district, Ms. DiAngelo disclosed the
information to theparents of other
school children and allegedly told
them that the woman's children
also had AIDS, the suit alleges.
"There was no information,
medical or otherwise, to suggest
that (the children) have AIDS or
are infected with the AIDS virus,"
the suit said.
Attorneys involved in the case
declined comment Tuesday, Jan.
The Borough of Barrington and
its police chief. Thomas Page,
were named in the original suit.
Brotman approved out-of-court
settlements with both last month.
"There's no question that confidentiality, education and non-coercive outreach are the keys to
curbing the AIDS epidemic short
of some type of cure," said Evan
Wolfson, an attorney with the New
York-based Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a national AIDS advocacy group.
Lesbian-Gay Pride Week co-chairperson resigns post
At the time the diskette began
causing problems in early December,
authorities in London said it had
been received by users in Norway,
Sweden, Belgium, Denmark and
California as well as Britain.
Scotland Yard said at least 10
British computers were affected.
Later in the month, a company in
Bahrain, in the Middle East, also reported getting one of the disks but
said il was discovered before it did
Those who used the AIDS information program later found that
their hard-disk data were destroyed.
Arbeznik said the diskette packages included a message warning
that ifthe diskette were inserted into
a.eomputer, a leasing fee would be
_."It appears to me ... a clear warning was given on the package,"
K(lroy said in a telephone interview
after Popp's court appearance. "The
facts will show his actions were not
At the end of the program, the
diskette asked the computer user for
a leasingfee of up to $378, then printed an invoice wilh a Panama City,
Panama, address of a company
called PC CYBORG, saying that
was where the money should be sent,
federal prosecutors said.
Upon payment of the money, the
recipient would receive a "decontamination disk" that would stop
the computer virus, authorities said.
By SH ERI COHEN DARBONNE
Montrose Voice Editor
Ken Wilson, the male co-chair of
Lesbian/Gay Pride Week 1990,
became the second co-chair of the
event to resign. He did so Wednesday, Jan. 31. Female co-chair Veronica Diaz read Wilson's letter of
resignation at the planning body's January meeting and said
that self-nominations would be
accepted and a co-chair elected at
the next meeting (Feb. 28).
In the letter, Wilson stated that
a situation concerning his immediate family had arisen, requiring
his full attention. Because of the
responsibility involved in chairing the pride week event, Wilson
said he preferred to resign so
someone else could devote his full
efforts to the project. "I feel 1 must
now dedicate my time and energy
in a different direction," Wilson
Diaz said delaying the selection
of a replacement until the next
meeting would give the community more time to respond.
Marion Coleman, originally
elected female co-chair of this
year's event, resigned earlier,
Diaz was elected co-chair at the
Nov. 30 meeting.
During the meeting, Diaz announced that the pride week executive committee had developed a
mission statement and "master
action plan" for Lesbian. Gay
Pride Week 1990 at a two day
"team building workshop" in Galveston. The plan, a time table giving deadlines for completing plan-
for T-shirt marketing purptit
ning of various details of the
event, was on display in front of
I he mission statement declares
that "Houston Lesbian/Gay
Pride Week '90 is a non-profit
501(c)3 organization whose purpose is to promote and coordinate
events which celebrate the diversity, unity and history ofthe lesbian
r adaptation of Lcshian Gov Pride Week logo
and gay community, in order to
create a path towards a positive future for all humanity, including
people of color, women, the physically challenged and our child-
In other action, a set of proposed
rules and guidelines for the 1990
Lesbian/Gay Pride Parade was
accepted by the group. Missing
from the draft of this year's rules,
prepared by parade co-chairs
Debbie Holmes and "Lady Victoria Lust," was the controversial
language regarding the "image"
and dress code ofthe pride parade
included in the 1989 rules. Last
year's rules called cross-dressing
by men with facial hair "demeaning," discouraged "negative" political displays and encouraged
participants to promote a "positive and favorable image." Some
people had complained when that
document was accepted that the
guidelines violated their right to
freedom of expression.
The rules approved this year also emphasize the importance of a
positive image, but the dress code
is less restrictive, barring only
clothing that might be deemed in
violation of state obscenity statutes and city ordinances. The references to cross-dressing with facial hair were removed completely
from the code.
A ban on roller skates, skate
boards and bicycles in the parade
was included this year for insurance and safety reasons.
A minor flap arose over procedural technicalities regarding the
development of merchandise featuring the pride week logo. Marketing committee representatives
Claire Koepsel and Leslie Perez
displayed a sample tank top and
T-shirt with the logo in two color
Jim Vilven, co-chair of the public relations/graphics committee,
said there had been some problems with reproduction ofthe art
work lor merchandise, particularly when the logo was reduced. The
print at the bottom of the logo
(which reads 'Houston Lesbian
Gay Pride Week 1990") cannot be
read when the logo is reduced, he
But Bar Wilson said the planning body had voted at theNov.1.0
meeting that Ihe executive committee would not be allowed to
change the logo, and had also voted to accept the colors in one ofthe
artist's renderings .shown at the
November meeting as the official
Further, Wilson noted that those
votes were not included in the copy
of theminutesol the Nov. ;.0 meeting, which were accepted by the
planning body at its meeting on
Members voted first to revise the
minutes of the November meeting,
then to allow the committee to
adapt the logo to resolve the reproduction problems for marketing
The tank top and T-shirt were
later auctioned off in a symbolic
"tirst B&leofofficial merchandise."
Jack VaUnski reported orv tVie
publications committee's plans for
the 1990 lesbian.gay pride week
guide, which will change to a magazine format this year (8 1/2 by 11
inches). The committee hopes to
distribute at least 20,000 copies
and mail out about 10,000,
The next general business meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. on
Wednesday Feb. 28 at Dignity
Center, 3217 Fannin.
The art of change in Montrose: Te Fi Faux'
8y JEFF BRAY
The Montrose Voice
4ames Boswell, owner of Fe Fi Faux
pronounced Fee Fye Foe), presents
a striking figure in Montrose. Hip
strawberry blonde hair has the fly
&way texture of straw, combining
frith the well trimmed beard to
(nake him look like a nineteenth
Century scholar—one of Freud's colleagues, perhaps.
". Instead, James is a child of the
post war Baby Boom, raised in a
middle class home in Ft. Lauderdale- Shunning the regular nine to
Jive routine, like bo many of his contemporaries, he has settled in Houston, and lives asurpriMitgly flexible
lite. No doubt, there are skyscraper
Executives who would envy his freedom of movement and creativity,
tut it was not an easy thing for him
p stark white Artigiani complex on
Shepherd, across from St. Anne's
Catholic School. Sunshine pours in
through the south windows, gleaming off the mirror-like black painted
_ "There used to be a building next
floor that blocked the light," hesays,
waving out at vacant space. Looking down, there is a rectangular lot
; >f brown dirt, freshly graded. Be-
.-ond that is the Exxon car wash,
Hi .-.zing wilh activity. The intersec-
ion of Westheimer and Shepherd
' ooks frenetic, and above il all, in the
; irilliant haze looms the massive
Randall's flagship store, its
: jreen roof rising like some pagan
emple—the Forbidden City on
•Rumor has it Exxon is going to
:xpand the car wash and make a
■onvenience store" he says with a
ligh. He would prefer that to some
:razy narrow highrise that would
mee again block the sunlight.
He shows off his unique works of
lit, a product of Fe Fi Faux.
"I had picked the name, and
thought it was a little too clever
Jwhen the Post came out the same
(week with an article about faux fin-
dishing," hesays ruefully. "The title of
their article was the exact same as
the name of my company"
Irony seems to be a customary
thing in his life.
"It had nothing to do with me. but
that's all right," he says. "Those little quirky things can work for you."
James has been in business for
three years, finding unique pieces of
furniture and painting them in exotic colors and textures. He feels Ihe
term'"faux" does not do him justice,
because he usually shies away from
the customary marble and granite
finishes so many of his competitors
Beautiful pieces of furniture adorn
the room, painted in sumptuous
greens, lush reds, and ancient
greens. Some tables, which, in their
previous life would be ordinary accessories to a living room or hallway, now look amazingly dramatic
and old—almost fossilized, liven in
the brightly lit room, their finishes
paint that piece of fur
have a sheen and a depth that only
hint at the beauty they would possess under strategic lighting.
"1 don't really keep up with other
artists in the city," J ami'? says confidently. "I like to keep to my own in-
Before he moved to Houston,
James lived in New York, where he
mot artists who taught him the art of
faux finishing. While enjoying the
cultural aspects of the city, he soon
realized that New York was not an
easy place in which to live.
"1 wasn'l really prepared fur New
York," he says, smiling. "I lived with
my employer for awhile, then paid
etofindmean apartment. It
First and Houston, and that
re than ten years ago, before
■ pi a,
! I v
young. Everything I had was stolen
within a week. I slept in a sleeping
bag on the floor. You had to chip
away the tub to see if there was any
porcelain underneath. I eventually
moved into the basement of the antique store where I worked."
Hesays he never appreciated how
well he had lived in Florida, and
was thinking of moving back there
when his mother contacted him
from Houston, where she had just
moved. At first, he wouldn't think of
living here, but she informed him
that she was dying of cancer, and he
rushed to Texas to be with her.
"1 thought Houston would be all
tumble weeds. I didn't think il was a
real city. I really didn't want to go
back to Ft. Lauderdale, either. I
didn't want to do trellis bamboo patterned wallpaper back there, which
was about all there was to do hack
then. Houston was very good for
James was shocked at the size of
the city, and immediately sot about
finding work lo help support himself and his ailing mother He held
down four jobs until after her death,
then settled down into a routine,
working consecutively through the
recession of the mid 1980's.
One delightful surprise was finding the arts flourishing so well in
the city. He became a dresser for the
theaters, and continues to enjoy
this part time function.
"I haven't gotten to dress any
Biggies," he says, "but I've dressed
next to the Biggies, like Pavoratti.
I've started being requested for chorus and dressing rooms because I
seem to have the personality to handle those big kids."
During The King and I. he had to
dress 16 men. Each costume is his-
torically correct, from the corsets to
I lie copes. Evi'i'v ho lion is exact, and
some costumes are enormously
heavy and ornate. One recent show
had over 400 costume changes in 20
minutes, and an actor may have to
lug around in over 60 pounds of
clothing while trying to perform.
While this is all very interesting,
however, James finds his greatest
satisfaction and fulfillment in his
art. He used to love hunting for antiques, but finds that most pieces of
furniture he really likes do not need
to be painted. He refers to these
pieces of furniture as "forms."
"Occasionally I find a new form to
paint. It's very difficult, because
when I see something I like, I usually want to keep it like it is."
He likes working for a designer
who has very strong ideas about
why apiece should be painted. Ifthe
designer has a good reason for such
an application, James feels good
about holding the integrity of the
"Lots of people say they hope I
won't paint that piece of furniture. 1
He works often with chemicals,
where corrosive materials are put on
metals and woods to rreale an aged
and pocked look. He prides himself
in that he can turn a new piece of
bronze into an archaeological find.
He also paints floor mats in exotic
colors, as well as whole floors with
glazed finishes i
"I don't advertise at all," he says.
Perhaps it is because he is so soft
spoken and shy. "I don't like to expose myself like that. 1 let them come
in to me.
"You have to be careful. You can't
do a job just for the money. Someone
may have a vision for a piece, but it
will end up being forced. That's why
I had to learn to run a business instead of being just the casual art isl.
I've maintained it slowly and didn't
force the issue. 1 let it all happen naturally, which is the safest for me.
The traffic has reached its fever
pitch for lunch, and there is a police
car being sent through the car wash.
"They probably think I'm crazy
because I'm always looking out the
windows," James says, laughing.
"They don't know what I do up here.
Do I live here? Do I work here? They
He looks over his latest project-
gold leaf on canvas—very expensive. Very unuBual and painstaking.
"Maybe it's a fear of success," he
wonders. "At least I'm finally documenting my work."