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Wyclef Jean's Haiti Charity Comes Under Fire Again

Report: Less than a third of $16 million went to relief efforts

November 28, 2011 3:45 PM ET
Wyclef performs at the 2011 Happy Hearts Fund: Land of Dreams, Haiti in New York City.
Wyclef performs at the 2011 Happy Hearts Fund: Land of Dreams, Haiti in New York City.
Jerritt Clark/WireImage

New allegations have surfaced about Yele Haiti, the charitable organization set up by hip-hop star Wyclef Jean. According to The New York Post, the foundation raised $16 million after the earthquake in Haiti but contributed only about one-third of that figure to emergency efforts.

In 2008, the newspaper reported that Yele Haiti – which was founded by Wyclef Jean and his cousin, Jerry Duplessis, in 2005 – had never filed proper paperwork with the IRS. After the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Wyclef tweeted a plea for $5 donations, and the fund raised millions of dollars. Answering allegations then, the Fugees singer admitted mistakes but insisted that he had never used funds for personal gain. "Did I ever use Yele money for personal benefit? Absolutely not," he said in a press conference. "Yele's books are open and transparent."

However, it appears now that Jean's brother-in-law was one of the contractual recipients of hundreds of thousands of dollars that the foundation meted out for services. Another recipient, a purported Florida company called Amisphere Farm Labor, received more than $1 million. Post reporters say they have found no trace of the company.

Jean and most of the other board members left Yele Haiti in the summer of 2010. "It's a clean slate now," claims new director Derek Johnson.

Related
Video: Wyclef Jean Performs and Talks Haiti
Wyclef Jean Defends Yele Haiti at Emotional NYC Press Conference

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