MIAMI — Musician and one-time Haitian Presidential candidate Wyclef Jean’s non- profit organization seems to be raising eyebrows once again. The ex-Fugee member and his organization, Yele Haiti, are accused of using charitable donations for personal gain and nepotism rather than helping those who were in need. According to the New York Post, donations to Yele Haiti grew to the large sum of $16 million in 2010, the most the charity had ever received. But less than a third of that — $5.1 million — went to emergency efforts, and $1 million was paid to a Florida firm that doesn’t seem to exist, The Post reported.
Jean, along with Hugh Locke, and Jean’s cousin Jerry Duplessis, founded the organization in 2005 to help with emergency relief, employment, youth development and education, tree planting, and agriculture. According to Yele Haiti, their mission is to “provide aid and assistance to the communities in Haiti in greatest need, where severe poverty, widespread unemployment, rampant malnutrition and crippling illiteracy are most pervasive. In doing so, we strive to balance emergency relief with support for long term sustainable initiatives that together are giving both hope and practical assistance to the people of Haiti.”
On January 12, 2010, when the massive, 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti, thousands of Haitians were killed and over a million were left homeless with nothing to eat. Yele Haiti acted quickly, soliciting donations to help those in need. Jean went as far as asking for $5 donations on Twitter to help those who had been affected, and in return, got the $16 million in donations.
Jean made it clear that he was no longer apart of the non- profit organizations executive board by saying of Yele’s active leadership. “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,” he said in a statement.
Yele Haiti could not be contacted for comment.