Wyclef Jean Defends Charity Amid Accusations

The former Fugees member called the article indicting his charity “misleading, deceptive and incomplete.”

Posted: 11/28/2011 08:18 AM EST
Wyclef Jean,charity, accusations, Haiti

Haitian-born entertainer Wyclef Jean shot back Monday against allegations that his charity, Yéle Haiti, mismanaged funds in the wake of Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake.

 

A scathing article published by the New York Post Sunday accused the charity of spending only a “pittance” of the money it raised on actual disaster relief and using the remainder of the funds on “questionable contracts.” According to the Post, Jean used large sums of donation money to fund contracts by his brother-in-law and a questionable Florida company named Amisphere Farm Labor Inc. that the paper says has not filed any of the correct paperwork with the state, has no physical residence, but whose owner bought three properties last year — including an upscale condo.

 

“Yéle Haiti’s coffers swelled to $16 million in 2010, the most the charity had ever received. But less than a third of that went to emergency efforts, and $1 million was paid to a Florida firm that doesn’t seem to exist,” wrote the Post.

 

According to charitywatch.org, reasonably effective charities should spend at least 60 percent or more of all income on charitable activities, with the most efficient charities spending more than 75 percent on programs.

 

Monday, Jean fired back against the accusations, calling the article “misleading, deceptive and incomplete.”

 

“The NY Post conveniently failed in the article to acknowledge that the decisions that Yéle Haiti made days after the earthquake were a response to one of the world's most catastrophic natural disasters in modern history and required an immediate humanitarian response. There were no roads, no clean water, no sanitation, no banks, no electricity and no infrastructure. Immediate decisions were made to save lives and alleviate suffering, “ he said.

 

In response to the mysterious Florida company that the paper said could not be found, Jean said, “The Post never highlights that Amisphere Farm Labor was responsible for preparing and delivering close to 100,000 meals.”

 

The Post’s latest indictment of Jean is not the first time the star and his charity have come under scrutiny over the integrity of its operations. In 2010, immediately following the earthquake, as donations began to roll in, Jean and the charity were accused of using the organization’s funds for personal use — including receiving money for his performance at a benefit concert in honor of Yéle.

 

"Have we made mistakes before? Yes," Jean said. "Did I ever use Yéle money for personal benefits? Absolutely not. Yéle's books are open and transparent, and we have been [given] a clean bill of health by an external auditor every year since we started,” Jean said in a tearful statement in 2010.

(Photo: AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

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