More incriminating information has been released about Wyclef’s ‘Yele Haiti’ charity and it pains me to see that the people involved were using this to pay their personal expenses.
Wyclef Jean has defended the financial irregularities of his foundation Yele Haiti by arguing he started it with his own money. However internal documents obtained by Gawker reveal that the former Fugee made no contribution during its first year. In defending his foundation at a press conference earlier this week against accusations that it has a history of mismanaging funds, Jean said, “I started the charity with my own funds.” Earlier, in a YouTube video, Jean claimed, “I myself have put $1 million inside my own foundation.”
Jean has aggressively raised funds for Yele Haiti since the earthquake last week, urging people to give to the organization through a texting campaign in television appearances—including a visit to Oprah today. Yele is one of five nonprofits that will split the proceeds of a telethon organized by George Clooney to be broadcast on Friday. While Yele hasn’t released its fundraising totals since the earthquake, its president has stated a target of $1 million a day from texts. Together with the proceeds of the telethon, it stands to potentially raise tens of millions of dollars.
The documents, which include internal emails and detailed financial statements for 2005 — the year Yele was founded — show the internal chaos that has afflicted the organization since its founding. Its first executive director, Sanjay Rawal, resigned in October 2005 because, his resignation letter stated, “the sense of entitlement” and “lack of financial commitment from the board”—which consisted at the time of Jean, his cousin Jerry Duplessis, and SAC Capital Advisers trader Seth Kanegis—were “suffocating” Yele Haiti. Another e-mail obtained by Gawker, written by Yele’s current executive director Hugh Locke in 2007, announced that both Locke and his deputy were resigning due to a ethical and business concerns that had caused a “crisis” at Yele Haiti.