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You probably went your whole life without thinking about the people of Haiti or you only know them as the people who try to make rafts out of seat cushions to get to America, but now you’re telling anyone who will listen to donate money because they had an earthquake. Good for you. You’re just like Wyclef Jean, except for the fact that you’re not being accused of stealing money from the foundation you created. New York Daily News reports:
“I have been committed to helping the people of Haiti throughout my life, and that commitment will continue until the day I die,” Jean wrote in a statement posted to his Web site, which was accompanied by a video. Concerns over the Yele Haiti Foundation – also known as the Wyclef Jean Foundation – surfaced last week, after it took in close to $2 million through a text message movement to raise money to aid quake victims. Questions over accounting practices and its connection to Jean’s businesses kicked off reports online that the 37-year-old Grammy-winner was profiting from the organization. “I denounce any allegation that I have ever profited personally through my work with Yele Haiti,” he wrote. “These baseless attacks are simply not true.” In the video, Jean claims to have donated $1 million of his own money to the foundation, noting, “I never, or would ever, take money for my personal pocket when it comes to Yele.” An Associated Press review of tax returns and independent audits provided by Jean’s foundation showed that it was closely intertwined with Jean’s businesses.
Oh really now? The Smoking Gun
The Haiti earthquake has already triggered hundreds of thousands of donations to musician Wyclef Jean’s charitable foundation, which expects to raise upwards of $1 million a day in the disaster’s wake. However, Internal Revenue Service records show the group has a lackluster history of accounting for its finances, and that the organization has paid the performer and his business partner at least $410,000 for rent, production services, and Jean’s appearance at a benefit concert. Though the Wyclef Jean Foundation, which does business as Yele Haiti Foundation, was incorporated 12 years ago–and has been active since that time–the group only first filed tax returns in August 2009. That month, the foundation provided the IRS with returns covering calendar years 2005, 2006, and 2007–the only periods for which it has publicly provided a glimpse at its financial affairs. In 2006, Jean’s charity reported contributions of $1 million, the bulk of which came from People magazine in exchange for the first photos of a pregnant Angelina Jolie (the actress reportedly directed that the publication’s payment go to Jean’s charity, not her personally).
I went to the foundation’s website and they didn’t mention that they were skimming money off the top, so I wish they would clarify that. Kinda like when Cowboys’ fans say they are “God’s team”. Do they mean actual God or Allah? Because if I’m not mistaken, Allah is the one who likes when you blow yourself up.