Michael Douglas: Wall St. Woes
Michael Douglas never fails to disappoint--and we're not talking about his roles in movies like "Falling Down," "The American President," or "Traffic." We love the 57-year-old actor because, when it comes to celebrity philanthropy, his charitable foundation consistently delivers the most newsworthy tax return.
TSG has obtained The Michael Douglas Foundation's new IRS filing--covering the fiscal year ending March 31, 2001--and it's quite fascinating (in fact, we're now seriously considering abandoning this dopey website for a career in forensic accounting). Along with the interesting numbers, the tax return actually includes a list of monetary gifts given to Douglas and wife Catherine Zeta-Jones for their November 2000 wedding.
Here are the highlights:
* When Douglas and Zeta-Jones were hitched, they asked that, in lieu of wedding gifts, guests donate money to a fund named after their 3-month old son, Dylan Michael. Douglas explained that the couple decided to"set up a charitable trust for our son. So when he turns 21, he'll begin learning the process of giving.It's all for charity." As of earlier this year, The Dylan Michael Douglas Fund had received 102 financial gifts, totaling $142,000. Wedding contributors included a mix of Hollywood luminaries (Griffith & Banderas, Oliver Stone, Anthony Hopkins), entertainment executives (David Geffen, Terry Semel),media bigwigs (Barbara Walters, Wenner Media), and Zeta-Jones's U.K. friends and relatives (many of whom gave 50 pounds, or roughly $68). But our favorite gift was the 100 clams sent in by Anthony Conza, the Blimpie CEO (and star of the food chain's crappy TV commercials).
* Despite a bull market, the "Wall Street" star's foundation actually lost nearly $1 million through lousy stock trades. While many other celebrity foundations invest in the market, Douglas may be the most aggressive when it comes to trading huge blocs of stock. And while the gains are sometimes big, the losses can be equally as large. For example, over a six-day period last October, Douglas's foundation suffered a huge hit on its investment in Connetics, a biotech firm. On October 3, Douglas bought about $240,000 worth of stock in the California company. Six days later, the firm's stock price dropped 79 percent when an expected product breakthrough went kaput. The foundation quickly dumped its 10,000 shares, but not before losing a whopping $180,000. Thanks to investments like this, Douglas's foundation posted an overall net loss of $204,855 (despite nearly $700,000 in donations).
* Speaking of losses, Douglas had to transfer $2.5million to the foundation operated by his ex-wife Diandra. This was part of a settlement growing from the couple's divorce (the charitable foundation had previously been named The Michael and Diandra Douglas Foundation, but was shortened to The Michael Douglas Foundation following the couple's split).
* The Douglas foundation received one rather strange gift, according to its IRS return: A "handmade lady's emerald-cut round diamond and gold designer ring"valued at $44,500. No explanation is given for the bauble, which was received last September from one Brigitta Webb.