Wyclef Jean is defending his charity, Yele Haiti, against a new report that it mismanaged donations.
The Grammy-award winning musician and his cousin Jerry Duplessis founded Yéle Haiti in 2005. The nonprofit organization is described as a grassroots, nonpolitical, charitable organization focusing on emergency relief, employment, youth development and education, and tree planting and agriculture.
When a massive earthquake devastated the music producer’s homeland in January 2010, Jean called on others to donate to his foundation to aid in repairing the disaster.
However, a new report by The New York Post questions where those donations went.
The New York Post alleges that the charity received $16 million in donations, but spent “just $5.1 million for emergency relief efforts.” The paper also claims Yele Haiti paid $1 million to a Florida food distributor, they claim, does not exist.
Jean defended the charity’s practices in a statement on his website, calling the investigative report “misleading, deceptive and incomplete.”
The New York Post article went on to scrutinize questionable payments made to businesses that are either tied to Jean's family, or received inflated amounts of money.
“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 continued in his statement. “We made decisions that enabled us to provide emergency assistance in the midst of chaos and we stand by those decisions.”
Jean admits the charity “has made mistakes in the past,” but said he is “proud” of the way Yele Haiti handled quake relief.
During the Haitian relief efforts, Jean was one of the most active celebrities bringing awareness to the devastation.
On August 5, 2010, Wyclef confirmed the rumors that he was going to be a 2010 Haitian presidential candidate by telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he was running, though Blitzer questioned Jean's actual citizenship and passport.
Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council rejected his presidential bid weeks after his announcement, because he did not meet the residency requirement of having lived in Haiti for five years before the Nov. 28 election.
Earlier this year, the rapper claimed he was shot in Haiti and received treatment for the gunshot wound to the hand, but a police officer later claimed this was incorrect and that Jean just cut himself.