Thursday, July 21, 2005

Aiken Charity Now Less Impressive

I'm loath to allow the visage of an American Idol success story to smell up our fresh-out-the-box pages, but what the shizzy.... MSNBC reports that the Clay Aiken co-founded Bubel/Aiken Foundation - committed to breaking stereotypes about and financially assisting people with disabilities - blew two thirds of the $1 million raised last year on, well, not financial assistance. A document filed with the IRS reveals, among other things, $150,000 spent on travel, $173,000 used for “professional services,” and nearly $150,000 for salaries.

Co-founder Diane Bubel's impertinent response? “We’re volunteering and doing something good, and all we hear is complaining.” At posting, I couldn't spot any mention of the scandal on TBAF's website, although Aiken's own site today pledged Clay's support of ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History. Since virtually every other human and trained animal in the entertainment industry did that a couple weeks ago, I gotta believe this is damage control.

As disappointing as all this is, it's hard to imagine that anyone who contributed to Aiken's Foundation truly believed that much of their money would be used for the betterment of persons in need. Otherwise they would've donated to a legitimate organization like the United Way or Oxfam or the Red Cross or just something less inextricably tied to the sinking ship of a reality television star rapidly fading from public consciousness. I'd love to see Aiken investigated, indicted, and brought before a UN tribunal, but only because I once heard a snippet of "This Is the Night" while I fumbled for the remote. I seriously doubt he was knowingly involved in mismanagement of funds in this situation. I'd go into some pop-Marxist spiel about a dancing monkey here, but there's a literal connotation that kinda takes the humor out of it.


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