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Madonna Makes Good on UNICEF Pledge, but What of Kabbalah Cash?

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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TWO STOOGES MadIggy (Photo: Getty Images) Madonna and Gucci's giant fundraiser for UNICEF on the lawn of the United Nations on February 6 may come just shy of causing an international incident.

The soirée was mired in controversy from the get go, as reports surfaced that it was more a plug for Gucci's flagship store and Madonna's pet cult Kabbalah than the kind of thing the UN typically approves of (much less hosts on its lawn). Gucci was reportedly banned from using the UN logo in promoting the event, and Secretary General Ban ki-Moon shrunk from the affair; his chief of staff told Inner City Press, "Gucci went a little too far." Inside, plates went for as much as $10,000. Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Demi Moore, Drew Barrymore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez, and others noshed on grappa-infused salmon, foraged mushrooms, and sticky toffee pudding with creme fraiche. The event raised as much as $5.5. million, a UNICEF spokesperson tells Radar, and despite reports to the contrary, UNICEF on Monday got a wire transfer for almost $2.6 million—the payment was essentially on time, although the organization is still awaiting about $100,000 in stragglers' bids and pledges.

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As for the other half of the money, a presumed $2.7 million? That goes to Kabbalah's Raising Malawi group, for whom Madonna gives good face.

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