The same charity that Wyclef Jean raised $1 million for within days of the devastating Haiti earthquake has shuttered –- leaving behind a trail of debt, questions about illegitimate benefits and fuming beneficiaries.
Yele Haiti, the nonprofit that Jean founded in his native country in 2005, closed its doors this summer amid a financial scandal that erupted soon after the 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, The New York Times reports. Despite the recent incriminating findings drawn by an audit, Jean continues to tout Yele’s legitimacy while promoting his new autobiography “Purpose: An Immigrant’s Story.”
Jean claims in his new memoir that he endured a “crucifixion” after the earthquake and told the Associated Press last month that "we are a completely transparent organization and I invite the world's curiosity.”
But the Haiti-born hip-hop star’s claims appear to contradict the conclusions of the forensic audit. After examining the charity’s 2005 to 2009 expenses, The New York Times found that Yele had spent $256,580 on illegitimate benefits and improper or potentially improper transactions. The Smoking Gun unveiled in 2010, for example, that the former Fugees star's recording studio collected $100,000 from the organization in 2006 for Jean's "musical performance services" at a benefit concert. An exclusive New York Post story also reported last November that the charity, which collected 16 million after earthquake, spent just $5.1 million on relief efforts.
While Yele Haiti's spokeswoman wouldn’t respond to specific questions from The New York Times, she told the news outlet that Jean and his lawyers “are working assiduously to resolve any pending issues with respect to Yéle prior to its closing as Mr. Jean continues his tireless commitment to his beloved country.”
Click through the slideshow below to see photos of Haiti two years after the 2010 earthquake.