Wyclef’s charity fights allegations of questionable spending

Yele Haiti — a charity run by former Africana Studies visiting fellow and hip hop artist Wyclef Jean — spent less than a third of its $16 million revenue on emergency relief efforts in 2010, according to a report published by the New York Post on Sunday.

In addition to spending millions on various dubious contracts, Jean’s charity also paid $1 million to Amisphere Farm Labor Inc., a Florida-based firm that “doesn’t seem to exist.”

After the Haiti earthquake struck on January 12, 2010, Jean asked his twitter followers for $5 donations, which immediately came pouring in. Prior to the earthquake, the charity had been especially cash strapped, reporting a $244,000 net loss in 2009.

These allegations mark the second time that Jean’s charity has come under serious media scrutiny for its use of donations. Four years ago, Yele Haiti spent  $250,000 on a Haitian television station jointly owned by Jean and his cousin, Jerry Duplessis. This expense was then publicized in a 2010 report by the New York Post that first criticized Yele Haiti for its spending practices.

Jean responded to these allegations today, calling Saturday’s report “misleading, deceptive and incomplete.” His response appeared today in the Miami Herald:

“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 said in a written statement. “We made decisions that enabled us to provide emergency assistance in the midst of chaos and we stand by those decisions.”

Jean also specifically replied to the allegation that the money paid to Amisphere Farm Labor had been squandered. “The Post never highlights that Amisphere Farm Labor was responsible for preparing and delivering close to 100,000 meals,” he said.

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