The Spectacle Blog

A Starlet, a Hustler & an Ex-Prez

By on 6.9.08 | 10:33PM

Kind of a complex scandal with a Clinton connection is now unfolding in the tabloids. The background (according to a September 2007 story in the Wall Street Journal which includes a handy chart):

Around 2003, a 25-year-old Italian "businessman" named Raffaelo Follieri showed up in New York City, boasting of his Vatican connections, and talking up plans to purchase Catholic Church properties for commercial redevelopment. Follieri soon made the acquaintance of Doug Band, a former White House intern who is now a top aide to ex-President Bill Clinton. Next thing you know, an investment firm run by Clinton's buddy Ron Burkle is putting $100 million into Follieri's project.

OK, now the celebrity angle: Just about the same time he made the Clinton connection, Follieri became the boyfriend of Hollywood beauty Anne Hathaway, the stunning brunette star of "The Princess Diaries" and "The Devil Wears Prada." Miss Hathaway subsequently became a board member of Follieri's non-profit foundation.

Just because he's a reputed associate of Bill Clinton shouldn't deprive Follieri of the presumption of innocence, but the allegations of impropriety are arousing suspicion to the point that even Democrats can no longer ignore them. The New York Post reports:

State Attorney General Andrew Andrew Cuomo is investigating a children's charity operated by the controversial boyfriend of sexy "Devil Wears Prada" star Anne Hathaway, who until recently sat on the group's board of directors, The Post has learned.
Cuomo's investigators in recent weeks served subpoenas seeking financial documents from the Follieri Foundation, which is headed by Hathaway's beau, 29-year-old Italian businessman Raffaello Follieri, the AG's office confirmed yesterday. . . .
Confirmation of the probe came after Cuomo's office was asked whether it was aware that the foundation might have failed to file tax-disclosure forms required of nonprofit groups.
A check of an online database that collects the "990" IRS forms showed that the Follieri Foundation is required to file the form, yet has never done so. . . .
Cuomo's probe comes two months after Follieri was arrested in Manhattan on charges that he bounced a $215,000 check - written against an account that a source said had just $39 in it - to a New Jersey man for services to his real-estate company, the Follieri Group. Charges were dropped in May after Follieri paid up.
Earlier this year, Follieri settled a lawsuit filed by Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle, who accused him and the Follieri Group of "systematically misappropriating" at least $1.3 million of more than $55 million that Burkle's company had contributed to a joint venture . . . .
Burkle's suit said Follieri used the money to fund an extravagant lifestyle that included private jet travel for himself and Hathaway, as well as for loans of hundreds of thousands of dollars to the foundation.
Say what you will about Miss Hathaway's sweetie, Raffaello's's a shrewd operator. Wherever Bubba is, the rich and gullible can't be far away.
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