Madonna's Malawi Charity in Disarray

A charity set up by Madonna and fellow devotees of the Jewish mysticism movement Kabbalah has collapsed: The singer spent $3.8 million to build a girls’ school before the plans were abandoned. The organization, Raising Malawi, has ousted the board of directors and replaced it with a caretaker board that includes Madonna and her manager, the charity said Thursday. Auditors charged that the $3.8 million raised so far had been used on salaries, cars, office space, golf course membership, free housing, and a car and driver for the school’s director. As the co-founder of the organization, Madonna has lent $11 million of her own money to the organization, as well as held at least two ceremonies at what was supposed to be the site of the school in Lilongwe. Raising Malawi had a number of powerful and famous backers—including Tom Cruise, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Alex Rodriguez.