Wyclef's Haiti Charity Reportedly Stinks

Camps say they've gotten no help
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2010 10:12 AM CDT
Wyclef's Haiti Charity Reportedly Stinks
Haitian-born singer Wyclef Jean, center, is greets supporters after submitting the paperwork to run for president of Haiti, Aug. 5, 2010.   (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Wyclef Jean’s Yéle Haiti charity has been pretty much useless, according to five of the dozens of camps the group claims to support. At least five camps listed by Yéle tell the New York Times they’ve gotten no support—“Not even a cookie!” says one leader—while others say they’ve gotten only shoddy gifts, like an old TV that swiftly broke. Yéle’s spent just a third of the $10.5 million it raised after the earthquake, including nearly $300,000 on 100 transitional shelters that can't be built until the government designates land for them—which Yéle’s president says is unlikely in light of Jean's presidential bid.

In the past, Jean has used money from the charity to pay his production company for a benefit he performed, and to pay his television stations for promoting it. That station broadcasts rent-free from Yéle’s palatial $15,000-a-month headquarters. An ex-employee even says he used $250,000 in part to fund a carnival float that featured a live lion Jean imported for the occasion. Jean denies that charge, and chalks all the criticism up to “hearsay” and “the overall anger and fear in these camps.” (More Yele Haiti stories.)

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