Madonna denies report of FBI probe into charity; some stars on edge
WITH BILL ZWECKER April 5, 2011 7:00PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Hollywood stars are buzzing about reports of an alleged FBI investigation of Madonna’s Success for Kids charity — shortly after a shakeup of the Material Mom’s Raising Malawi foundation in Africa amid claims of financial mismanagement.
Turns out those stories have other celebs looking into their own charities — and how their finances have been handled.
† Sources say a wide range of top stars, including Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and Elton John, have requested updated accounting of their charitable foundations — simply to ensure there are no problems similar to the ones Madonna reportedly faced.
† While the FBI declines to comment on any ongoing investigations, Madonna’s longtime publicist Liz Rosenberg told Us magazine the rumors of an FBI probe are “wild and totally false. ... As we have said previously, Raising Malawi is currently undergoing a series of positive changes in an effort to serve more children. Neither Madonna nor Raising Malawi is being investigated by the FBI or the IRS.”
While there was no mention of Success for Kids, another source close to Madonna said Tuesday that “at this point, those earlier reports of problems [with that organization] appear to have been grossly exaggerated. … There are no problems or FBI probe.”
Founded in 2001, Success for Kids has raised more than $33 million — with Madonna being its largest supporter. Earlier there were reports that the administrative expenses at Success for Kids were unusually high.
BACK AT IT: That old Paris Hilton-Kim Kardashian feud has been reignited — thanks to comments attributed to Paris’ mom, Kathy Hilton, at a New York party. Mama Hilton reportedly waxed poetic about her eldest daughter being the original reality star. According to the New York Post, Hilton referred to Kardashian as someone who “used to work for Paris,” adding, “Kim copied everything Paris has done.”
† Hollywood pals of the Kardashian clan have frequently mentioned Kathy Hilton’s irritation (jealousy?) over the Kardashians’ meteoritic rise — and the mutli-millions they’ve acquired — thanks to the success of their TV shows and related merchandising projects.
TUNE TIME: Brian Walker, “American Idol” runner-up Crystal Bowersox’s husband, is having a concert/album release bash Thursday night at the Bottom Lounge. Wouldn’t it be super cool if Crystal showed up to jam with him?
HERE’S THE SKINNY: Friends of LeAnn Rimes are concerned about her increasingly thin appearance. Rimes, who recently spent time in Chicago while fiance Eddie Cibrian filmed the “Playboy” TV pilot, triggered renewed comments about her weight after she sang the national anthem Monday night at the NCAA championship game in Houston.
While pals complain Cibrian’s obsession with skinny women is behind this, Rimes responded via Twitter Tuesday, “Dear Lord! I do not workout too much, nor do I starve myself … I swear I just ate 4 Chick-fil-A chicken strips, a chicken breast, rice, green beans and a lemon bar. Don’t talk about me like that!”
WANNA GO BLUE? An open casting call is slated for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 19 at the Briar Street Theatre for new members of the long-running Blue Man Group troupes — in Chicago, New York, Boston, Las Vegas, Orlando, Berlin, Tokyo and the U.S. tour.
Men and women are encouraged to try out — just grab your drumsticks and go!
SPORTS SHORT: Chicago’s own Mike North is jetting out to Las Vegas to fill in for Pat O’Brien’s afternoon drive slot on Fox Sports Radio (available in Chicago on XM Satellite 142) Thursday and Friday.
GEM OF A GUY: Top Australian jeweler Tony White — who long has created one-of-a-kind pieces for Our Town’s VIPs — is in Chicago through Friday, showing his latest at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
STAR POWER: It’s quite the lineup for the world premiere of Bruce Graham’s “The Outgoing Tide” at Northlight Theatre. Artistic Director B.J. Jones announced John Mahoney, Rondi Reed and Thomas J. Cox will star in the new production — slated for a May 12-June 19 run.
This will mark a return to Northlight’s stage for former “Frasier” mainstay Mahoney, Tony winner Reed — currently starring in CBS’ “Mike and Molly” — and Lookingglass Theatre’s co-founder Cox.
SEEN ON THE SCENE: Ernie Banks was spied greeting fans at Harry Caray’s while (separately) Otis Wilson dined nearby.