A RESPECTED Detroit preacher has sprung to the defense of Star Jones, who’s being maligned in Motown for supposedly ripping off a local charity and not showing at its 2006 “empowerment” event.
“Star is the victim here,” says the Rev. Horace Sheffield, who claims his own nonprofit, the Detroit Association of Black Organizations, was duped by the woman making accusations against Jones. Last week, Jones was portrayed on Detroit’s WXYZ-TV as a diva who reneged on a deal to make a Super Bowl weekend “empowerment” speech to a nonprofit that helps overweight girls. But as Page Six reported, public records show the charity’s director, Sharon DuMas-Pugh, has a history of financial troubles, including bankruptcy and failure to file tax returns.
“DuMas is the last person who should be claiming someone cheated her - because she’s been doing it to people for years,” Sheffield told The Post’s Jeane MacIntosh.
Sheffield says his group rented office space to DuMas’ charity, Full & Fabulous, only to see her skip out, leaving a bill of more than $10,000. “I wish I could tell you what I think of her and her charity, but I have to remind myself I’m a pastor,” Sheffield said. “But she’s just using these fragile, overweight girls as pawns to get something from Star Jones. It’s a joke.”
DuMas-Pugh claims her charity bought Jones first-class air tickets to come to Detroit for its empowerment event, but Jones did book signings and went to a fashion show instead. A copy of Full & Fabulous’ contract with the celeb shows the group agreed to pay Jones $25,000, plus first-class airfare and a five-star hotel for two in return for the appearance. But Jones didn’t get a $10,000 deposit due in August. She gave DuMas-Pugh until the night before the event to get the money and even flew to Detroit for the planned speech on her own dime. The money never materialized, and Jones didn’t show.
Sheffield, who also books celebrities such as Ashford & Simpson for Detroit charity events, says, “You know going in that you have to pay what you promised, and honor the contract, or folks are under no obligation to show up. Sharon knows that. She’s trying to create a scandal where there is none.”
DuMas-Pugh could not be reached.