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What happens when the checks stop coming in? You think of ways you can go after someone’s stacks:

Nomvuyo Mzamane, the former headmistress of Oprah Winfrey’s South African Leadership Academy for Girls, filed a defamation lawsuit against the TV star in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Friday in an attempt to salvage her professional reputation, PEOPLE has learned exclusively.

The civil suit, filed by attorney Tim McGowan, says Winfrey “launched what amounted to a defamatory campaign” against Mzamane late last year by implying that Mzamane is “untrustworthy, failed the students of the academy, did not care about the students at the academy, knew of alleged physical and sexual abuse at the academy and participated in a cover-up of the alleged abuse,” according to legal papers. The suit cites comments to the media Winfrey made last October and November in the wake of a dorm matron at the school being charged with assaulting and abusing students.

Mzamane, 39, also filed a defamation suit against the blog the Huffington Post and publicity expert Joan Stewart for a Nov. 19, 2007, posting by Stewart saying Mzamane was charged in connection with the scandal.

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