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Did Wyclef Jean Personally Profit From Yele Haiti Foundation?

Wyclef Jean

First Posted: 11/28/2011 8:59 am Updated: 11/30/2011 10:33 am

Wyclef Jean has come under fire again for allegedly partaking in shady charitable transactions, but the Grammy winner says that the claims are "misleading, deceptive and incomplete."

The New York Post reported exclusively on Sunday that Yele Haiti, the nonprofit Jean founded with Jerry Duplessis in 2005, spent just $5.1 million of its $16 million on earthquake relief efforts. The Post also alleged that the organization solicited questionable agencies to carry out its work.

But the former Fugees star said in a statement Sunday that the allegations are unfounded and that his charity rebuilt an orphanage and provided food and shelter to 250,000 people in need.

"Immediate decisions were made to save lives and alleviate suffering," Jean said. "We made decisions that enabled us to provide emergency assistance in the midst of chaos and we stand by those decisions."

But the New York Post reported that some of those decisions have raised red flags.

The news outlet noted that Yele Haiti paid Amisphere Farm Labor Inc $1,008,000 to serve as a food distributor in Haiti. But the Post found no trace of the Miami business, which never filed the appropriate paperwork to be incorporated in Florida.

Jean pointed out in his statement that Amisphere prepared and delivered close to 100,000 meals in the earthquake's aftermath.

This isn't the first time that the ethics of Jean's charity have been scrutinized.

In 2010, the Smoking Gun unveiled that Jean and his partner collected at least $410,000 from the organization for rent, production services and Jean's appearance at a charity concert, which brought in $100,000 alone.

"It seems clear that a significant amount of the monies that this charity raises go for costs other than providing benefits to Haitians in need," Dean Zerbe, the former tax counsel to the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees charities, told The Washington Post in 2010.

While Jean admitted to making mistakes in the past, he expressed his organization's commitment to empowering the people of Haiti.

"I will always love and serve the Haitian people until the day I die," Jean said. "I am proud of the way that Yele handled the crisis on the ground in 2010."

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Filed by Eleanor Goldberg  |