Less than a third of the $16 million gathered in 2010 by hip-hop star Wyclef Jean for earthquake relief in Haiti actually made it to emergency efforts in the country, the New York Post reported Sunday.
According to the exclusive report, Jean’s charity, Yele Haiti, doled out millions in questionable contracts -- in fact, $1 million was paid to a Florida firm that doesn’t seem to exist.
The Post also reported that a company called P&A Construction – which is run by Warnel Pierre, Jean’s brother-in-law -- received $353,983 from the group.
Founded in 2005 with his cousin Jerry Duplessis, Jean’s charity was troubled before Haiti’s disastrous January 2010 earthquake struck. In 2008, it was revealed that the organization had never filed required tax forms detailing its spending to the IRS.
The charity lost $244,000 in 2009. But almost immediately after the Jan. 12, 2010 quake, Jean took to Twitter asking for $5 donations, which quickly rolled in.
Soon after, it was reported that Yele Haiti had given $250,000 to a Haitian TV station controlled by Jean and Duplessis.
“Have we made mistakes before? Yes,” said a tearful Jean, a former Haitian presidential candidate, holding a January 2010 press conference to defend his charity against that charge. “Did I ever use Yele money for personal benefits? Absolutely not. Yele’s books are open and transparent.”
Yele Haiti has not yet issued a statement to respond to the new charges.