Wyclef Jean has defended accusations that he misappropriated funds in the Yéle organization used to aid Haiti earthquake victims.
After a catastrophic earthquake shook Haiti in 2010, Jean, a Haitian singer and politician, asked people to donate to Yéle so that the organization could help his country. However, some began to question if Jean was using the millions of dollars raised to help the estimated families of 300,000 dead people and millions left homeless.
The New York Post was one publication to question Jean’s use of the $16 million he raised for Yéle in 2010. The publication reported that less than one third of that money was actually used on disaster relief or emergency efforts.
The report also questioned the distribution of $1 million to a Florida firm that is not in existence. However, Jean defended himself against accusations in an emotional 2010 press conference.
“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.”
Although Jean and most of the board members that he started the organization with have since stepped down from their positions, Derek Johnson, the organization’s current director said he has made positive changes.
Johnson said Yéle has now become “the squeaky clean, ethically driven and impactful NGO that our legendary founder, Wyclef Jean, always envisioned."
The current Yéle director pointed out that the New York Post’s report brought up issues that were almost two years old.
Jean recently released a statement denying the claims made by the Post.
“The percentage of funds used is consistent with NGOs and Not For Profits operating in Haiti at the time,” Jean said. “I have acknowledged that Yéle has made mistakes in the past, including being late in IRS filings, but that is old news."