“A lot of times, things like [critiques of Wyclef’s organization] are really irrelevant,” Akon told MTV News. “Because it’s obvious he’s trying to do good. Especially for Haiti, his loyalty to Haiti, you can’t really question. In the beginning his foundation was in the start-up stages and he had to get the team together, he had to find the right staff and crew that could actually handle those things. He had a lot on his plate. Naturally, of course, when you have a lot on your plate, you’re an entertainer and you’re moving around performing and doing humanitarian acts through the world, it’s gonna be hard to keep an eye on everything with your foundation. Some things are gonna slip through the cracks. But I don’t think that’s fair to put him under the gun for things like that because at the end of the day, you know where his heart is.”
UPDATE: Wyclef Speaks out on Finances Check his video response HERE
Wyclef returned to his native Haiti at the Port-au-Prince airport the day after the thousands upon thousands were killed in a lethal 7.0 earthquake. Thursday, the entertainer then began clearing the dead bodies of his country’s inhabitant off of the streets. Among other matter, he’s issued a plea to the President, started to plan telethon with George Clooney and his tireless lobbying.
Despite his efforts, the singer/rapper now must contend with allegations of misappropriated funds from his Yéle Haiti Foundation, according to a report from The Washington Post. “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,” said Dean Zerbe, national managing director of Alliant Group, a tax services company.
Hugh Locke, President of Yéle Haiti, countered the notion in a statement that was issued to AllHipHop early Saturday morning.
“Wyclef Jean, the founder of Yéle Haiti has never profited from his organization. It’s a shame that during this international emergency, we have had to divert resources away from our response efforts to address these allegations,” Locke said.
Locke also told the Post,
“I think people should be very comfortable that any money given to Yele Haiti is going 100 percent to emergency relief.” He also stated that Wyclef’s status in Haiti gives them more access to those that truly need the money.
Furthermore, Locke stated that the organization has used monies raised for scholarships, a soccer team, various educational trips, employs natives and also established a food program that distributed supplies after a 2008 hurricane.
At press time, the Yéle Haiti Foundation had raised over $2 million in contributions, largely through texted donations.
Locke, through Yéle Haiti’s PR company, sent AllHipHop a list of “Financial Facts,” which can be seen below.
Fact: Yéle Haiti, originally called the Wyclef Jean Foundation, filed a tax return in 2000 and then suspended activities until 2005 and so was not required by law to file a tax return until it resumed operation.
Fact: Yéle Haiti received a clean bill of health in independent external audits conducted in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 by the firm of Tempesta & Farrell, P.C..
Fact: Yéle Haiti was guided by the firm of Grant Thornton LLP to ensure that all transactions involving board members Wyclef Jean and Jerry Duplessis were conducted to fully comply with both the spirit and letter of the law governing such matters.
Fact: Yéle Haiti offices are located in Platinum Sound, the recording studio owned by Wyclef and Jerry Duplessis in order to save money. The organization pays only $2,600 a month for the space and a shared reception service, instead of considerably more for the same arrangement in midtown Manhattan.
Fact: Wyclef Jean was paid $100,000 in connection with a benefit concert in Monte Carlo in 2006, which was organized by a for-profit organization. The vast majority of that amount went towards costs related to the performance, including the hiring of backing musicians and other costs related to the production.
Fact: Yéle Haiti purchased $250,000 of airtime on the commercial television station Telemax in Haiti that is owned by Wyclef and Jerry. We have documentation allocating the hundreds of hours of Yéle programming, over several years, that addressed a wide range of development and social issues in Haiti.-Allhiphop