Singer Wyclef Jean, who recently ran for the presidency of Haiti, is currently under fire as his charity, Yele Haiti, is coming under scrutiny again for potentially squandering millions of dollars in charitable donations.
The New York Post reported that the charity received over $16 million in donations last year, but only about 35% of such funds went to fund emergency efforts. Over $1 million reportedly went to a Florida company called Amisphere Farm Labor, Inc., which sources say doesn't actually exist. With such damning claims being made against the ex-Fugees rapper and would-be politician in his efforts to aid his devastated homeland, one wonders if more harm is being done than good.
“The Post conveniently fails to acknowledge that the decisions that Yele made were a response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters in modern history and required an immediate humanitarian response,” Jean said in a statement. “We made decisions that enabled us to provide emergency assistance in the midst of chaos and we stand by those decisions.”
Wyclef also declared that he was no longer part of Yele's active leadership, but denied any corruption among the organization's ranks. “I have acknowledged that Yele has made mistakes in the past, including being late in IRS filings, but that is old news. When I entered politics last summer, I transitioned from being a board member and chairman of Yele Haiti to a supporter. The new and good news is that Yele under new leadership, despite efforts to undermine its credibility and effectiveness, continues its mission to serve people in need.”
Last year, Wyclef ran a failed campaign for Haiti's presidency, in which he was besieged by allegations that he took money from Yele for his personal use. The climate of the campaign saw a response of escalated hostility that resulted in Jean getting shot in the hand while riding in a car with Busta Rhymes.
"Have we made mistakes before? Yes," Jean said in a press conference last year. "Did I ever use Yele money for personal benefits? Absolutely not. Yele's books are open and transparent."