Mary J. Blige Addresses Charity Lawsuit

The R&B songstress is rectifying problems caused by “mismanagement” at her FFAWN foundation.

Posted: 05/30/2012 05:57 AM EDT
Mary J. Blige

Less than two months after Mary J. Blige found herself embroiled in a controversy surrounding her appearance in a much-scrutinized Burger King ad in which she sang praises of their Crispy Chicken Snack Wrap, Blige has some more drama to deal with. This time her charity organization, the Mary J. Blige and Steve Stoute Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now, is being sued by TD Bank over a $250,000 loan it took out last June, reports TMZ.

In a lawsuit filed earlier this month in New York, the bank claims that the foundation has reneged on the loan which promised to repay the borrowed amount by December 2011, but to date has only paid $368.33 of the hefty balance.  

That's not all either. According to the NY Post, the foundation didn't file a federal tax return for 2010 and is also being sued by musicians who claim they were not paid for their performances at a 2011 fundraising gala.

A representative for the charity organization submitted a statement to TMZ: "The Mary J. Blige and Steve Stoute Foundation For Advancement of Women Now, Inc. (FFAWN) is presently transitioning its management and headquarters… We remain committed to our mandate of helping women gain the confidence and skills necessary to reach their full individual potential."

Blige also reached out to TMZ saying, "As Founder and CEO of FFAWN, I am ultimately responsible for anything that goes wrong. The problem is that I didn't have the right people in the right places doing the right things. This should have never been allowed to happen, but it did and now we are fixing it."

Mary later went on HOT 97 radio to speak with host Angie Martinez to further set the record straight on what exactly went wrong and where her philanthropic organization stands today.

"It happens that FFAWN has been mismanaged and when I found out about all these issues and things that are going on concerning FFAWN, I immediately got on the phone with my lawyers and advisers and tried to rectify this and fix this so that none of those women would suffer that are going to college," said Blige. "My goal is to do exactly what I set out to do and my motives were true and upfront. I set out to empower and encourage and help women because I got a second chance myself. I wanted to give them a second chance…. So right now as we speak I've hired a team of people that are making sure that my businesses are taken care of as far as FFAWN is concerned, we are not closing down, we are restructuring and we put a great team of people in place and I'm just proud to say that the grants, the scholarships that we set out to take care of will be taken care of. The Mary J. Blige Center for Women in Yonkers, everyone is in good standing."

After assuring that the foundation was in good standing, Mary explained further what went wrong.

"The problem is that it was mismanaged and so [was] the funding that needed to come in for everything," she said. "The business side dropped the ball and everyone was about to suffer. So my team and I caught it right in time… I don't want to start calling out names and saying who did what and who did this but just know this, Mary J. Blige always bears the brunt of everyone's horrible mistakes. Mary J. Blige always bears the brunt of people's incompetence. So it is my responsibility and it's ok. I'm a soldier, I'm strong. I can take anything, especially stuff like this."

"I love those girls," she added. "And when I saw all of this madness going on all I could see in my mind was I can't let them be hurt like this. They didn't come this far to end up being hurt by Mary J. Blige. I would not allow it… I've been paying for those scholarships. I'm consistent in what I said I wanted to do. I love those girls and I want them to continue to play out their dream. I never got an opportunity like they're getting and I just want them to pass them on and do something like this for another generation."

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