Le fiasco africain de Madonna.
Oh, save us from celebs who save us
Last Updated: 6:48 AM, April 7, 2011
Posted: 2:19 AM, April 7, 2011
What comes next after a dame achieves every one of her fantasies -- international star dom, much-younger boyfriends, skinny thighs?
For Madonna, next on the to-do is saving the world. Trouble is, sometimes the globe resists the most fabulous efforts at salvation.
In 2006, Madonna, bereft from advancing years and infertility, traipsed like a savior to the impoverished African nation of Malawi. Another gal might have bought a trinket. Or taken a hush-hush lover.
Instead, Madonna scooped up a live baby from his natural father, breaking every adoption law. As payment to the country over which she trampled, she made a promise.
Madonna wanted to realize her long-held fetish to serve as the Kabbalistic version of Mother Teresa. Forming Raising Malawi, she hit up rich pals, like Gwyneth Paltrow, for money to build an exclusive, expensive -- and ridiculous -- school for girls.
That was then.
Now, every penny raised, $3.8 million, has vanished -- poof! -- like Alex Rodriguez. Before a forkful of earth could be overturned, the cash was squandered on lavish salaries, a golf membership, and cars for staffers who had yet to be hired. Madonna, who dreamed of teaching girls the Zohar, a Kabbalah text written in useful Aramaic, has abandoned the school.
Not so fast.
As reported by the iPad publication The Daily this week, Madonna is under investigation by the FBI for screw-ups in her Malawi-offshoot charity, Success for Kids, which helped itself to $18 million in donations. She is being sued by unpaid workers at the Malawi school and accused by a wealthy heiress of perpetrating a massive rip-off with the Los Angeles Kabbalah Center.
Now probers, which include those from the IRS, want an answer -- how the devil did Madonna fail to notice that her pet charity was crashing and burning?
Madonna is not the only celeb to get tripped up while making a bid to put her mark on the planet.
Oprah Winfrey was ridiculed for building a $40 million South African school for 152 poor girls -- featuring high-thread-count bed sheets, a beauty salon and yoga classes. In 2007, a school matron was charged with sexually and physically abusing students. Oprah flew to Africa to clean the mess from those pricey sheets.
Sean Penn dabbled near treason when he played footsie with the late Saddam Hussein and Venezuelan America-hater Hugo Chavez, before shifting to drive-by trips to Haiti.
George Clooney discovered Sudan as a tool for cleansing guilt at Oscar time. "You really do campaign, like kissing babies. So by the time it's over, you sort of want to do something that makes you feel better," he told Newsweek. Road trip! Traveling to war-torn Africa, the actor gave money to a village for a well, huts and a community center.