Denise Rich is baaaaaack.
The ex-wife of pardoned fugitive Marc Rich is throwing a benefit on Nov. 8 at Planet Hollywood in New York. It's called Denim and Diamonds. The recipient of funds will be Denise's G&P Charitable Foundation, but I'm also told Denise is considering giving some of the proceeds to WTC disaster victims.
The question is, after all the scandal concerning Denise's lobbying for Marc's pardon, who will come?
Rich plans to charge $300 per person this time, and hopes that 1,000 of them will show up. Insiders tell me Denise is calling this "an interim event" until next fall when the third Angel Ball is planned.
Invitations are in the mail today.
Of course this Denim and Diamonds event will probably not have most of the guest stars who participated in the last two big shindigs. I can guarantee you Bill and Hillary Clinton will be otherwise occupied on Nov. 8. But what about celebrities? So far, Patti LaBelle and Natalie Cole have stuck by Rich through her bad times, and its likely — though not definite — that Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell will show up.
One semi-celeb who's said to be on the list to perform Nov. 8 is Sister Sledge. Rich showed up at the taping of the charity version of the Sledges' "We Are Family" last month. And the group does hold a special place in their hearts for Denise. She collaborated on their first hit, "Frankie," many moons ago.
But the G&P Charitable Foundation, which Denise started in memory of her daughter Gabrielle, is still an organization filled with question marks. Granted, last year they got very lucky. They honored Dr. Daniel Vasella of Novartis AG, a Swiss pharmaceutical company. Six months later the FDA approved Novartis's breakthrough drug, Gleevec, which successfully treats the previously indomitable illness myeloid leukemia.
Novartis aside, there are still questions about G&P. For one thing, they have yet to produce a public Form 990 for the years 1999 and 2000. This IRS form delineates how the foundation spent its money and who it received money from. The 2000 form is of particular interest since it would detail the results of the November 2000 Angel Ball.
A similar filing for 1998 showed that G&P counted among its donors such cronies of Marc Rich as Felix Posen, the man who was called the architect of Rich's businesses, and Robert Thomajan, a longtime Rich lawyer and associate who contributed money under his own name and under the charity belonging to Pincus Green, Richs co-fugitive from 1983 until last Jan. 20.
Also still pending — and possibly a turn off to donors and celebrities — is the Congressional investigation into Marc Rich's pardon. Did Denise Rich contribute more than $1 million to the Democratic National Committee and half a million dollars to the proposed Clinton library hoping to use the later as leverage for a pardon? Last March, Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indiana) said he'd find out, but nothing has happened. In the meantime, the case — like the Condit/Levy case — seems to have been swept from headlines by the Taliban.
But as one Rich associate said to me of Burton's committee — which I reported in Gotham Magazine last month: "What happened to the list of people that putz was waiting for? All the donors to the [Clinton] library? That was going to be the key."
I guess the keys, like congressional reports, have a habit of getting lost.
I'm told by my pals that it was an inadvertent slip that omitted this column's credit from a Saturday Page Six item about Michael Jackson taking over this Sunday's coming charity show in Washington D.C. Page Six is so good at citing their source material, I am sure it was an oversight.
In case you missed it, Fox411 reported that the "United We Stand" show is now being called "United We Stand, What More Can I Give?" The second part of the title is a reference to the song Jacko plans to debut at the show and record the night before in Orlando with 'N Sync, the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears.
Moreover, it seems that Mikey's new control of the show may have forced Mick Jagger to drop out. Rest assured, however, that Jagger will be in the New York charity show on Saturday night.
And now I'm told that participants in the New York show — organized by Miramax's Harvey Weinstein and VH-1's John Sykes — are planning a late night all-star jam session on Sunday while the D.C. folks are busy with their own thing. For security purposes, the site of this wingding — which is said to reunite Jagger with Keith Richards — is being kept tip top secret.
This is how long it takes to get a Hollywood project going. I reported on Jan.19, 1999 that Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was going to be remade by Warner Bros. This is the book upon which Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was based. At the time, I told readers that Michael Caton-Jones might direct a new version starring Nicolas Cage for Warner Bros. with Brillstein-Grey as the producer.
Well, Rob Minkoff will direct, but it's still possible that Cage will play the Gene Wilder role. And for publicity's sake, how much will you bet that curvaceous model Sophie Dahl, the author's granddaughter, will get a job in that candy shop?
But think of it — January 1999. This was a story that came out of the second season premiere party for The Sopranos! And you wonder why Hollywood stars turn to cults for solace. It's excruciating out there!