Haitian-born solo artist and former Fugee Wyclef Jean is defending his charity, Yele Haiti, after a report by the New York Post questioned the spending – or lack thereof – of funds raised for disaster relief.
According to a Sunday article in the Post, Yele Haiti spent only a “pittance” of the $16 million collected after the devastating 2010 earthquake on emergency aid including questionable contracts – such as $350,000 to a construction firm run by Jean’s brother-in-law and $1 million to a Florida firm that may or may not exist.
Jean has defended the charity, calling the article “misleading, deceptive and incomplete.” He said that decisions made by Yele Haiti were made quickly in the aftermath of a catastrophic event and he stands by those decisions. He also provides some explanation for the Florida contract – with Amisphere Farm Labor Inc. – saying the Post failed to mention the preparation and delivery of 100,000 meals by that organization.
According to the Post, however, no trace of Amisphere Farm Labor could be found in Florida beyond its incorporation in 2008. The business’s listed address is an auto-repair shop in Miami’s Little Haiti and records show that the head of the company purchased three properties in Florida last year including an upscale waterfront condo..
These accusations are only the latest round of controversy surrounding Yele Haiti. Days after the earthquake struck, allegations arose that Jean had been appropriating charity funds for personal use, a claim he disputed. Jean stepped down as the head of Yele Haiti in August 2010.