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Ride promoter takes road outta town

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Troubled by fund-raising practices that limited profits and likely scared off riders, the primary beneficiaries of the Florida AIDS Ride have canceled their sponsorship, causing the California promoter of the just-completed fund-raiser to pull out after two years running the three-day, Orlando-to-Miami bicycle ride. After a first year when just 18 percent of donations reached sponsoring agencies, including the local AIDS Resource Alliance ("Gambling on a ride for life," May 8), Los Angeles-based promoter Dan Pallota faced tough questions in advance of the second ride. And though he predicted a net return of $1.2 million this time out, the final tally after about 400 of 1,100 riders dropped out may be closer to $150,000 to $300,000 -- about the same rate of return as the first ride, said John Weatherhead, chairman of the Florida AIDS Ride Consortium and executive director of CenterOne, a Broward County AIDS agency. Benefiting AIDS agencies may revive the ride themselves next year, he said -- but with an initial goal of cutting back overhead.

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