BRIAN ROSS REPORTS ON CELEBRITIES AND THE BIG BUSINESS OF
RAISING MONEY FOR CHARITIES, ON ABC NEWS' "20/20," NOVEMBER 12
Elizabeth Vargas Interviews "American Idol's" Fantasia Barrino;
John Stossel Reports on Real Life "Swingers";
Lynn Sherr Looks at Email Etiquette
Brian Ross investigates a scandal that has rocked the entertainment and political worlds, exposing the big business of raising money for charity and politics. 39-year-old Aaron Tonken was a smooth talking event planner who says he became a major player in the world of charity and political events by handing out lavish gifts and cash to some of Hollywood's A-list or their friends in return for the stars' attendance at charity fundraisers. Tonken, now in federal prison for defrauding charities and their backers, admits in his first television interview that he used millions of dollars to secure celebrities for major Hollywood events. The report airs on "20/20," FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 12 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
For example, Tonken says he made a donation to a political cause then private citizen Arnold Schwarzenegger supported in exchange for his attendance at a charity event. Tonken says he provided Suzanne Somers $55,000 in plane tickets and jewelry to sing at a cancer center benefit. Tonken says he often supplied celebrities and their handlers with jewelry, first class airline tickets and vacation trips. He estimates that, for one event alone in 2001, he squandered $900,000 on celebrities, including former President Gerald Ford. Tonken admits that he broke the law by diverting money intended for charities to his own account to pay for the lavish gifts and handouts to Hollywood elite.
And: Elizabeth Vargas talks to Fantasia Barrino, who last spring, in front of 30 million viewers, was voted the third American Idol. For this 20-year-old single mother who once sang at weddings to earn enough to make ends meet, it was a Cinderella dream come true. Fantasia speaks candidly about realizing her dream and the bumps along the road, including an alleged abusive boyfriend, dropping out of high school and being a single mom.
Plus: John Stossel reports on real life "wife swapping" - adult couples who participate in sex-related activities with other people. Researchers estimate that there four million so-called "swingers." Stossel talks to couples who participate to find out why they would engage in such behavior. He also questions experts to learn how "swinging" affects marriages.
Also: What is proper email etiquette? Lynn Sherr reports.
"20/20" is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and John Stossel. David Sloan is executive producer.