Wyclef’s Charity Records Show Possible Funny Stuff In Past Financials

- By Bossip Staff Categories: For Your Information, News, Put on Blast

After leading the charge to help victims of the earthquake in Haiti, Wyclef is now in the hot seat about some of the past ways his charity has used its funds. Pop the hood for a closer look.

By Friday morning, just days after the earthquake hit, Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Foundation had raised more than $1.5 million.

Undoubtedly, Jean’s celebrity helped draw in donors: He’s an internationally known musician from Haiti who won a Grammy with the Fugees and went on to a hugely successful solo career. But an analysis of the charity’s tax returns raises questions about how it has spent money in the past, with administrative expenses that appear to be higher than comparable charities and payments to businesses owned by the musician and a board member, including $100,000 for a performance by Jean at a 2006 benefit concert.

“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, and the former tax counsel to the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees charities.

“It brings real caution for donors that want to help in Haiti that they might want to take a harder look at this organization but also consider the significant number of charities that have been doing good work in Haiti that don’t have these question marks,” Zerbe said.

Hugh Locke, president of Yele Haiti, said the charity does what others can’t, because Jean gives it unusual access to the country’s slums. He said the group hopes to spend a higher percentage of its budget on services as it gains experience. “I think people should be very comfortable that any money given to Yele Haiti is going 100 percent to emergency relief.”

The earthquake prompted so much donor interest in Yele Haiti that its Web site crashed Thursday. Yele Haiti also is getting much publicity at events, including a fundraiser Monday at the 9:30 Club and a telethon next Friday hosted by actor George Clooney. It is collecting supplies Sunday in Miami and airlifting them to Port-au-Prince next week, Locke said.

The charity provides scholarships, funds a soccer team, takes students on environmental-education camping trips and employs women to cook for schools, according to Yele Haiti. After a 2008 storm, it helped a food program distribute emergency rations to 6,000 families without violence, Locke said, organizing the community to distribute the food rather than sending in aid workers with armed guards.

But its financial records raise questions, experts say. In 2006, Yele Haiti had about $1 million in revenue, according to tax documents. More than a third of the money went to payments to related parties, said lawyer James Joseph, who specializes in nonprofit issues.

“It might be completely legitimate. But it’s certainly something I would want to look into more carefully,” Joseph said.

For instance, the charity recorded a payment of $250,000 to Telemax, a TV station and production company in Haiti in which Jean and Jerry Duplessis, both members of Yele Haiti’s board of directors, had a controlling interest. The charity paid about $31,000 in rent to Platinum Sound, a Manhattan recording studio owned by Jean and Duplessis. And it spent an additional $100,000 for Jean’s performance at a benefit concert in Monaco. Locke said that Jean and Duplessis were unavailable for comment Friday.

The Telemax money was used for “everything from public-service announcements to educational programming,” said Jesse Derris of the public relations firm Sunshine, Sachs and Associates, which is representing Yele Haiti. They used their own company “because it was a way to buy time at a significant discount.”

The rent included office space and shared receptionist services for the charity and is “severely reduced” below market rate, Derris said. All the proceeds of the benefit concert went directly to Yele Haiti, he said. Locke said the $100,000 included expenses, such as payments to backup musicians and production costs.

Yele Haiti reported nearly $1.9 million in income on its 2008 tax return.

We knew Wyclef had some spending issues but now that the whole world is watching he better do the right thing when it comes to that charity money!!!

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Comments

  • http://www.madblackman.com madblackman

    Say it ain’t so!

  • WhatAWorld08

    “Everyone raise a hand if you saw this coming!”

  • Brian

    First!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    Not a good look. I’ve been skeptical if all the money thats donated will find its way to Haiti.

  • I LUV BO

    I’m FIRST. They just don’t want anyone to send money to Haiti, if this true, why didn’t they prove it b4 a disaster. pEOPLE PLEASE DONATE TO HELP OUT BROTHER AND SISTERS IN NEED!!!

  • SimplePleasures

    This is EXACTLY why Im leary of donating money to charities. *smh*

  • DaOriginalMsMa

    I’VE NOW LOST ALLLLLLLLLL RESPECT FOR THIS CAT…TO CHEAT YOUR ON PEOPLE IS A ‘UNCLE TOM’ MOVE DAWG!!!

  • Kool Breeze

    There’s no doubt in my mind alot of folks hope this story isn’t true as well as myself. But if it proves true that most of the proceeds from donations were allegedly used for personal gain then wyclif needs to be held accountable. Dude is a hero in haiti and to some here in the states and this news would be devastating. In the mean time I’m trying to do what I can to help our people in haiti.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ms_holliday Victora Holliday

    im hoping someone is just trying to make him look bad cause if this is true its going to hurt all the wrong people

    http://www.twitter.com/ms_holliday

  • http://www.twitter.com/ms_holliday Victora Holliday

    im hoping someone is just trying to make him look bad cause if this is true its going to hurt all the wrong people

  • I Stay On 121st Down The Street

    NO, IT’S NOT ANYTHING IRREGULAR ABOUT CLYF’S SPENDING OF THE MONEY. ALL CHARITIES HAVE TO PAY FOR SHH TO GET THE WORD OUT ABOUT THE CHARITY. WHEN YOU START SAYING A THIRD OF THE MONEY INSTEAD OF SAYING 30% OF THE MONEY WENT TO ADMINISTRATORS AND ADVERTISING IT’S SOUND SUSPECT.

    BLACK FOLKS CAN’T HAVE NOOOOOO SHINE THE MAN WILL ALWAYS FIND A WAY TO DISCREDIT. ALMOST LIKE IF THEY GET ENUF POWER TO ACTUALLY MAKE CHANGE THEY MAKE SURE THEY CAN’T BY EITHER EXPOSING THERE WOMANIZER WAYS IE, TIGER/MLK/MICHEAL JORDAN OR SAYING THERE WIERD IE, MICHEAL JACKSON IT’S SO MUCH BS IN THE GAME IT’S NOT EVEN FUNNY.

  • Dot

    It’s true that someone is sending that money for their own.If you send anything with your credit card it will charge you fees,that’s a damn shame,you’re paying fees for to help this Jean’s Yele Haiti Foundation.

  • Ross

    FACT:In 2008 the Red Cross CEO, salary was $500,000, plus a $65,000 signing bonus.

    You don’t hear about that in the media.

  • http://aol ebonieladi

    Wyclef’s charity and maybe Tom Joyner will be the only ones I am donating to. Haiti is Wyclef’s passion and I trust him more than The Red Cross and those other agencies. The Red Cross collected millions for Katrina victims and they are still in dire straits. They have had questionable accounting practices in other emergencies also. It seems like they are trying to steer us away from sending money to Wyclef’s charity however I have seen where Wyclef was down there in Haiti helping out on numerous occasions when no one else was. Also I saw how Tom Joyner’s Foundation helped out the 911 victims and they gave a daily accounting of where the money was going. Don’t let these other crooks steer you away from charities such as these. If anybody gets my money it will be these two foundations.

  • I Stay On 121st Down The Street

    @DOT
    @A SHAME
    DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE, ALL CHARITIES HAVE TO PAY FEE’S/AND OTHER COSTS TO RUN IT…PLEASE GOOGLE A LIL MORE BECAUSE I’M SURE THAT’S HOW YOU DO YOUR RESEARCH AND THEN HOLLA AT ME….NO PUN INTENDED, THERE’S NO BETTER WAY FOR ME TO SAY IT.

  • It's Me

    Wow, I don’t know what to believe… I pray that this is not true as I was one of the millions to donate to this..

  • Country

    STOP SPREADING RUMAS ABOUT THAT DECENT MAN. RESPECT CLEF

  • UMFUFU

    HAITIANS ARE EVIL. THEY STEAL FROM POOR HARD WORKING PEOPLE. I LIVE IN MIAMI AND SEE MANY BAD THINGS. SAY IT NOT SO, BUT I SEE FOR SELF.

  • I Stay On 121st Down The Street

    @Victora Holliday

    AINT SHH GOING ON. THIS SOME REGULAR OLE LYNCHIN THE MAN IS USED TO DOIN.
    SMH AT RACISM AND $$ISCM BECAUSE NOW IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT COLOR IT’S ABOUT MONEY TO! IF YOU WHITE AND BROKE YOU = RICH AND BLACK,LOL

  • Shaylawriter

    Charities don’t run themselves. Money has to be reinvested for advertisement and administrative costs. Employees don’t work for free. Why are people so quick to try to discredit this particular charity organization? Is it because it’s led by a black man? Where was all this skeptism when FEMA basically decided not to do ANYTHING with the billions of dollars that should have gone towards Hurricane Katrina victims. Wyclef is a former citizen of Haiti and is the ONLY celebrity I’ve seen publicly holding the flag for that country and shining light on their poverty conditions for the past 10+ years. Yele is the ONLY charity I’ll take my chances on at this point because I actually believe the money will get to those people. While the government is claiming that troops are having trouble landing and disbursing supplies to victims of Haiti, Wyclef was one of the first people on the scene down there and has been helping pick up dead bodies and find survivors. Stop trying to bring that man down. He’s an asset to his people.

  • sarah

    wyclef has done SO MUCH to help haiti and put haiti on the map internationally. I don’t care where the money goes, just as long as yele haiti continues to bring AYITI to ppls consciousness than so be it! haiti has been ignored for years in so many ways. wyclef has done so much to elevate haitians to the national forefront, that all of his money has been for good cause. investing in wyclef ultimately means investing in haiti.

  • Shaylawriter

    He’s an a-s-s-e-t- to his people.

  • TRUTH IS....

    CRABS IN A BUCKET MENTALITY…THAT PPL WILL NEVER BE BETTER CUS THE KILL AND TRAMPLE THEIR OWN PPL

  • STOP RAISIN HELL

    AND SEND THE MONEY TO YELE HAITI YOU DAMN FOOLS.

  • Kila

    CAN WE ALL SEE THAT THIS WAS BRUNG UP AT THE “RIGHT” TIME FOR OTHER ORGANIZATIONS TO SHOW THAT THE PUBLIC’S MONEY SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN TO THIS HAITIAN MAN’S ORGANIZATION! ALL ORGANIZATIONS HAVE EXPENSES “LIKE THE RED CROSS!” ( THEY WERE UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR THE SAME THING AT ONE TIME). SO PLEASE DONT LET THIS DISCOURAGE US FROM GIVING TO YELE HAITI. BECAUSE IF YOU DO THE ONLY PEOPLE THAT WILL SUFFER ARE THE PEOPLE OF HAITI.

  • wildcherry666

    This is a damn shame. Wyclef can’t even help his own people without white people trying to discredit him. Remember the Red Cross and other charities are competing for dollars. I believe Wyclef and his organization need to stay on point when handling donations. At least Wyclef is on the ground deep in the trenches helping move bodies, unlike others.

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