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Mary J. Blige’s Charity Facing Legal Troubles

04:03 PM Tuesday 5/29/12 |   |

The Mary J. Blige and Steve Stoute Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now, Inc., is accused of writing bad checks to 30 musicians, defaulting on a $250,000 loan and failing to file its federal tax returns for 2010.

The Grammy-award winning singer/rapper created the foundation, known as FFAWN, with marketing pioneer Steve Stoute in 2007 “to use Mary’s personal story and success to inspire women from all walks of life to reach their individual potential,” according to FFAWN’s website. In late 2010 Blige talked about the charity on “Today,” telling the talk show “I sent 25 women to college … Our goal is to send 50 women to college.” 

The New York Post reports that FFAWN was sued earlier this month by a group made up of 30 musicians who accompanied a May 2011 benefit hosted by honorary FFAWN board member Queen Latifah and featuring Blige, Jennifer Hudson and Christina Aguilera. Court papers filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan claim that when the musicians went to cash the checks, the checks bounced. The group says it is owed a total of $167,252 for wages and penalties for nonpayment.

That isn’t the only lawsuit the charity is facing. A few weeks ago FFAWN was sued by TD Bank, which loaned the foundation $250,000 in June 2011. According to the New York Post, TD Bank asked FFAWN to repay the loan at the end of 2011 and then sent two demand notices in February.

The New York Post points out that in addition to failing to file its 2010 federal tax returns, FFAWN didn’t file its annual state-charity registration. One large sum that is allegedly missing from the 2010 annual report is a $60,000 donation from sales of Blige’s My Life fragrance. During a six-hour debut on the Home Shopping Network, $1 from every bottle of perfume sold was supposed to benefit FFAWN for a total of $60,000 in donations.
 
For more information click here for the New York Post story.


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