Mary J. Blige Charity Sued for Failing to Pay Bills
Mary J. is a deadbeat diva.
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The New York music star's charity is supposed to empower women but instead has no office, no phone number -- and hundreds of thousands of dollars in missing donations.
It failed to file its federal tax returns for 2010, which were due last November, along with its annual state-charity registration. The charity has now been hit with two lawsuits -- one claiming the group stiffed musicians at its 2011 fund-raising gala and another saying it defaulted on a $250,000 loan, The Post has learned.
Blige, known as the "queen of hip-hop soul," touted the charity's success on the "Today" show in late 2010, saying, "I sent 25 women to college."
She was promoting her fragrance, My Life, which sold a record 60,000 bottles on the Home Shopping Network during its six-hour debut in 2010. One dollar from each sale was supposed to benefit The Mary J. Blige and Steve Stoute Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now, known as FFAWN.
"I just want to be one of those women to reach out and show women if I can do it, we all can do it," said the artist, who has often tapped her own hard-luck story of poverty, sexual abuse and drug and alcohol addiction for inspiration.
Where the $60,000 from the fragrance sale and other donations went is a mystery. The group's 2010 annual report has nothing on its finances for that year.
And just months after the "Today" appearance, the charity began falling apart. It held a star-studded benefit concert on May 3, 2011, hosted by Queen Latifah -- an honorary board member of the charity -- and featuring appearances by Blige, Jennifer Hudson and Christina Aguilera.
When several of the band members who accompanied the stars went to get paid, the checks bounced, according to court papers.
"We got a whole series of checks -- rubber," said Harvey Mars, a lawyer representing 30 musicians and others.
SOURCE: NY Post
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