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Mitch Albom and His Charity Are Being Sued

Mitch Albom, columnist, author, radio host, playwright, musician – did I forget anything? – is being sued.

From the Detroit News:

Best-selling author Mitch Albom and one of his charities are in a legal battle over who has the rights to own and operate an orphanage in Haiti.

Operators of the Caring and Sharing Mission in Port Au Prince are suing Albom and his A Hole in the Roof Foundation.

They allege the Detroit Free Press columnist committed fraud and misrepresented his “intent of taking over the title and real estate ownership interest of the plaintiffs,” according to a complaint filed Tuesday in Oakland Circuit Court.

The Free Press, the paper where Albom is a columnist, had this:

Albom referred questions to his attorney, Eric Scheible of Bloomfield Hills, who accused Hearn and his foundation of trying to extort money from Albom and his foundation.

“The allegations are patently false,” Scheible said. “I think it’s a money grab, a way to extort some money after all of the time, effort and resources that all of these volunteers have put into the mission.”

Chad Audi, who co-founded Albom’s foundation and who serves as president and CEO of Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, agreed. He said Hearn’s lawsuit seeks only money but says nothing about Hearn wishing to operate the mission or help the children.

“They’re using Mitch’s name to bring more attention to the matter and make sure they get some money,” Audi said.

So did Albom see an opportunity to swoop in, “save the day,” pump up the foundation in his column, and generate a lot of money?

That year, the Detroit-based nonprofit group took in $312,464, of which $93,816 went to build “bathrooms, showers, dorms and a kitchen for mission/orphanage in Haiti for residents of Port Au Prince, Haiti following the earthquake,” the documents state.

Besides Albom, the paperwork lists Dr. Chad Audi as treasurer and the author’s wife, Janine Sabino, as secretary. None reported receiving any pay or benefits from the charity.

So where did the other $219k end up? We’ll probably never know because this is the type of case that surely will be settled out of court. 

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