Here's a little addendum to the Rosie O'Donnell-Donald Trump wars.
Now it can be told, thanks to my sources, that Trump offered Rosie $2 million to appear on the upcoming celebrity-driven season of "The Apprentice."
The work would have entailed 12 days altogether. The offer, I'm told, came through producer Mark Burnett's office.
Needless to say, O'Donnell turned Trump down flat.
"I wouldn't do it for $200 million," Rosie was said to have responded.
This comes as a direct rebuttal to Trump's printed assertion that he never offered O'Donnell anything.
O'Donnell was in Los Angeles recently to film episodes for "Nip/Tuck," the edgy F/X drama about plastic surgeons and their love lives. I'm told she tried to contact Britney Spears. The idea was to try and talk some sense to the out-of-control former pop star, who has turned into magazine cover bait.
Unfortunately, Spears was unavailable, having a meltdown. Rosie's conclusion: "I feel bad for her."
It must have been a good year for Madonna in 2006.
According to new tax filings, the Material Mom deposited a cool $5 million into her tax-free charitable fund, the Ray of Light Foundation.
It's more than Madonna's ever put into the fund in one year. Her average is $1 million.
What's curious about this year's filing though is how little the Material Mom then paid out to other charities — the purpose, one assumes, for having a foundation. Of the $5 million, Madonna gave away only $341,124. Most of it — $250,000 — went to the Kabbalah Centre in Los Angeles.
The rest was divided among Elton John's AIDS Foundation ($31,124), T.J. Martell Foundation, the UCLA Foundation and the Boston Conservatory. She also gave $5,000 to Ionia Inc., a progressive community in Alaska.
It's anyone's guess why Madonna's parked $5 million in a tax-free account for now. She religiously gives money to Kabbalah, a tax-sanctioned religion started by a former insurance salesman who believes in reincarnation and telepathy, among other things.
Kabbalah is now making inroads in Africa where they have started yet another foundation called Raising Malawi through their Spirituality for Kids Foundation. It's possible the $5 million is being held in abeyance for that fund.
Madonna's already written a series of children's books with proceeds going to Kabbalah. In September, she launches a new series aimed at "tweens" aged 9 to 12, again Kabbalah-themed with profits earmarked for that organization.
According to reports that started in the New York Post this week, she's considering making her next recording contract deal with Live Nation, the spin-off of Clear Channel Communications, and leaving Warner Music after 25 years. The deal could be worth up to $100 million, reports say.
Recently in this space, I reported that Ray of Light had made numerous investments in infamous polluting entities, which was ironic since she performed at Live Earth. But Ray of Light also has been buying stock in Live Nation, which isn't so surprising.
A really on-the-ball bankruptcy judge in Los Angeles has finally put the heat on the trustee handling the finances of late rock star Billy Preston.
Calling the court-appointed trustee for the estate "overzealous" and "misguided," Judge Theodor C. Albert has given R. Todd Neilson until Aug. 12 to return any property he took from Preston's partner and manager, Joyce Moore, including redirected mail, hundreds of thousands of dollars and luxury automobiles.
Albert, speaking on July 12, chastised Neilson's attorney, Amy Goldman, in court for going above and beyond his authority in the case.
"It's not the trustee's province to grab everything that's connected to this case," Albert said.
The judge noted that Neilson, a controversial bankruptcy trustee who seizes on cases with celebrities attached, was "astute enough to know he has walked out on thin ice here, and that he needs to retreat carefully back into where the ice is somewhat thicker."
In his remarks before Neilson's attorney, Amy Goldman, Moore's attorney, Barbara Stief and Baruch Cohen, the attorney for the Billy Preston Trust, the judge made several forceful comments about Neilson "unwinding" the mistakes he'd made by tying up Moore's finances and taking her mail.
"Those items … that he has taken into possession already, including monies that are clearly not property of the estate, he must immediately give them over to the ostensibly correct holder," Albert said.
Even with that order, Neilson has yet to respond to Judge Albert's decision, leaving Moore in a precarious situation.
The Billy Preston case is one in which no good turn goes unpunished. When Moore, a longtime advocate in the music business, started managing Preston years ago, he was in a low place physically and mentally.
Sometime in the last couple of years of his life, Billy, whose hits included "Nothing From Nothing" and "Will It Go Round in Circles," moved down to Phoenix so Joyce and her husband, Sam, one of his oldest friends, could take care of him. Joyce drove him most mornings around 6 a.m. to dialysis.
It was a happy arrangement except for Billy's sisters in California. Billy said often he didn't care for them, but families never like that sort of thing when money is involved. When Billy died, they swooped in like vultures to try and destroy Joyce Moore. Luckily, they haven't succeeded so far.
Still, I was a little startled and more than shocked the other day when Neilson — who is not only a bankruptcy trustee but director of something called the Private Bank of California — put some incredibly derogatory comments in a proceeding he filed.
As the man who took down Reed Slatkin in the country's largest Ponzi scheme, he should know better than to believe Preston's avaricious relatives.
"Plaintiff [meaning Neilson, himself as trustee] is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges that, Joyce [Moore] had substantial influence and/or control over the Debtor's [that's Billy] financial affairs while the Debtor was ill, on drugs and isolated from his family," Neilson wrote.
As longtime readers of this column may recall, nothing could have been further from the truth about Billy Preston, the rocker who was known as the "fifth Beatle" for his performances on that group's "Abbey Road" and "Let It Be" albums.
I wrote about Billy's amazing live performances twice in 2005 as well as about his healthy attitude and good spirits. When he fell into a coma in November 2005, he was recording, touring and enjoying his life. There are hundreds of photographs that document his last couple of years, and he's smiling his big, wide grin in all of them. When he died on June 6, 2006, Billy was, ironically, on a comeback trail.
Luckily, it seems like Judge Albert gets this about Billy. At the July 12 appearance, he characterized Neilson's moves as "misguided zeal."
"The Trustee has to be on guard about overstepping his authority. … It's like a book they sell at Borders, you know. 'Everything You Needed to Know In Life, You Learned in Kindergarten.' Well, this is part of it. You don't take what isn't yours. It's that simple," he said.
Sounds like pop singer Usher woke up at the last minute and called off his ill-fated wedding to Tameka Foster.
The now-abandoned bride is eight years older than the groom and has three children. She's also pregnant by Usher. Foster has also usurped Usher's mother's place as his manager.
Usher, considered a gem of a kid in the music biz, must have had some epiphany before standing up 100 guests at the home of L.A. Reid. Better late than never. ...
Steve Martin got married Sunday in Los Angeles. He's 61, she's 35, but what the heck. The bride is a former editor from the New Yorker.
Martin had better have a good prenup. He has an extensive art collection worth millions.