EXCLUSIVE Don’t get me wrong: I like Lady Gaga and her parents. But celebrities probably shouldn’t start charitable foundations. Now the latest federal tax report is in for Lady Gaga’s Born this Way Foundation, and it’s not good news. Despite spending $348,000 in 2012 on their outreach bus tour, the Born this Way Foundation otherwise managed to fritter away around $1.5 million on legal fees, publicity, and a website.
The foundation, which lists Gaga’s lovely mom, Cynthia Germanotta, as president, had a lot of expenses in 2012 that had nothing to do with helping anyone. They spent $300,000 on “Strategic Consulting (web, digital),” $62,836 on “Stage Productions (Harvard, LA, UN),” $50,000 on “Social Media,” and another almost $50,000 on “Event Coordination.”
Born this Way also spent: $808,661 on “other”; $406,552 on “Legal”; $150,000 on “Philanthropic Consulting”; $60,000 on “research”; 58,768 on “Publicity fees”; $78,000 on “travel”. They spent $72,000 on salaries– presumably for running the Born this Way bus, although that episode had its own expense line.
Under ‘grants to organizations or individuals”: $ 5000. Five thousand dollars.
They claimed net assets of $2.1 million. Donations came to $2.6 million, up from $1.4 million in 2011. But there’s no detailed listing of contributors or donations. I suspect most of the money came from Lady Gaga’s earnings. Where it went, and why it went there, is a mystery still.
On top of that, it looks like Lady Gaga loaned Born this Way over $10,000 to pay expenses.
Meantime, it’s unclear that anyone was really helped by the Born this Way Foundation other than lawyers, consultants, publicists and travel agents.
Gaga would have been better served just writing a check to the Elton John AIDS Foundation. It would have done more good, and quickly.
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News. He writes for Parade magazine and has written for Details, Vogue, the New York Times, Post, and Daily News and many other publications. He is the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals.