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Madonna faces lawsuit for unpaid wages and discrimination

Fox News Reports that Madonna is seeking to sue the director of Raising Malawi, a foundation she established, in order to get back $3.8 million of donations intended to help build a school in Malawi.

Madonna cofounded Raising Malawi back in 2006 to help ease poverty and hardship for orphaned children in that country. The non-profit charity has attracted donors like Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Cruise and Alex Rodriguez. But an audit conducted in January revealed that roughly $3.8 million was misspent with little accounting or progress on the foundation's goals. Since then, plans to build a new school-the central project of the foundation-were abandoned, resulting in labor disputes and other complications, including a claim by former employees of Raising Malawi who are now suing the pop star for lost wages.

Sources say that eight staff members of the foundation have also filed documents alleging discrimination in their dismissal. Now Madonna apparently has 14 days to respond to the situation.

Whether or not Madonna will be able to recover her donations depends on the restriction she placed on those gifts. If the donations were specifically given for the purpose of building a school, and that was put down in writing, there is a better chance she could recover her money. If the money was given to a general operating fund without restriction, however, there is little chance of recovery. Sources said that it isn't clear whether Madonna will be able to recoup the losses of her donors.

According to President and CEO of charity watch dog group Charity Navigator, "I you do not make sure that your philanthropic investment is being used to fulfill the organization's mission, then you bear some culpability."

Sources said that, in order to recoup her losses from the project, Madonna would likely have to get the Malawi government involved, which could get complicated.

Source: Fox News: "Beware Celebrity Charities: Madonna's Raising Malawi Fiasco Shows Risks of Unproven Charity Organizations," Jo Piazza, 29 Mar 2011.

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