Mary J. Blige is facing more drama this week after her non-profit organization FFAWN (Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now) was sued over an unpaid loan. The R&B songstress addressed the allegations during a phone call with Angie Martinez.
On Sunday, TMZ reported that TD Bank had filed suit against Blige and co-founder Steve Stoute over a $250,000 loan that the charity took out in June 2011. According to the suit, FFAWN agreed to pay the money back, but as of December 2011, they had only paid back $368.33. Additionally, the non-profit didn’t file a federal tax return for 2010 and is being sued by musicians who claim they were not paid to perform at a 2011 fundraising gala.
Speaking from Beijing, China, where she was performing at an event for Armani, Blige admitted FFAWN’s faults and explained how she was working to remedy the situation.
“FFAWN has been mismanaged and when I found out about all these issues, I immediately got on the phone with my lawyers and my advisers and tried to fix this so that none of those women would suffer,” said the singer. “My goal is to do exactly what I set out to do. My motives were true and upfront. I set out to empower and encourage women, but it turns out the business part of it was not managed properly.”
While she didn’t mention any specific names, she placed blame on those running the organization. “I just found out that when you don’t hire the right people and have them in the right places, doing the right things, and they don’t have the same motives that you do, your business suffers,” she continued. “And there’s a business to giving as well. So you have to have the right people to make sure everybody’s straight.”
A new team is in place and FFAWN will continue operations. “So right now as we speak, I’ve hired a team of people that are making sure my business is taken care of as far as FFAWN is concerned,” she said. “FFAWN is not closing down. We are just restructuring. We put a great team of people in place. 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’s in good standing, and all the scholarship programs.”
But her intentions were pure. “I’m an artist and my goal was to do something great. I dreamed about helping save the lives of women. This is something I always wanted to do, but I only wanted to do it if I had the right team of people who can do the part that I can’t do. I don’t know about the business side of this thing. All I know is giving—giving my time, giving my lyrics, giving my life.”
She is willing to accept the consequences. “Just know this, Mary J. Blige always bears the brunt of everybody’s horrible mistakes. Mary J. Blige always bears the brunt of people’s incompetence. If it’s my responsibility, that’s fine. I’m a soldier, I’m strong and I can take anything.”
Blige is making sure that the women who received scholarships are being taken care of. “Right now they’re all OK. Everybody’s in good standing. We caught it right in time. What happened when I caught it, a lot of girls were on their way out and I had to pay out my pocket. I was not going to let those girls just suffer like that.”
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