Rapper Wyclef Jean has issued a statement following a new article in The New York Post that scrutinized his Yele Haiti charitable organization.
The article, titled “Questions Dog Wyclef’s Haiti Fund,” which ran in The Post today (November 27), claims that Yele Haiti awarded millions in questionable contracts, some to family members.
According to The Post, out of the $16 million dollars Yele Haiti raised in 2010, only $5.1 went to the country, which was devastated by a 7.0 earthquake that killed almost 300,000 people.
The rapper is accused of squandering the money that came into the non-profit.
The article claims that almost $400,000 went to a company owned by Wyclef’s brother-in-law Warnel Pierre, while another million went to Amisphere Farm Labor Inc., a food company that doesn’t exist.
To complicate things, another man named Amsterly Pierre that headed up the non-existent food distribution company, allegedly purchased three upscale condos in Florida.
Yele also allegedly rented a residence for company workers, at an inflated price of $35,000 per-month.
Wyclef denied the allegations of financial wrongdoings in a letter to AllHipHop.com.
“I started Yele in 2005 because I wanted to help people that were helpless in my home country of Haiti,” Wyclef told AllHipHop.com. “People who didn’t have a voice, people who didn’t have resources, people who had mostly been forgotten.”
Check out Wyclef’s full letter of denial below:
I started Yele in 2005 because I wanted to help people that were helpless in my home country of Haiti. People who didn’t have a voice, people who didn’t have resources, people who had mostly been forgotten.
Since Yele launched six years ago we have helped close to half a million people. I will always love and serve the Haitian people until the day I die.
The NY Post piece entitled, “Questions Dog Wyclef’s Haiti Fund” is misleading, deceptive and incomplete. The Post conveniently fails to acknowledge that the decisions that Yele made were a response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters in modern history and required an immediate humanitarian response.
There were no roads, no clean water, no sanitation, no banks, no electricity, no infrastructure. Immediate decisions were made to save lives and alleviate suffering. We made decisions that enabled us to provide emergency assistance in the midst of chaos and we stand by those decisions. We did the best we could with the available resources.
I am proud of the way that Yele handled the crisis on the ground in 2010. We were able to feed, clothe, provide medical assistance and shelter for more than 250 thousand people in need.
What the article doesn’t say is that the construction projects funded by Yele Haiti were responsible for rebuilding an orphanage, building a temporary assistance facility, and had constructed a system of out door toilet and shower facilities in Cite Soliel one of the largest slums in Port-au-Prince.
The Post never highlights that Amisphere Farm Labor was responsible for preparing and delivering close to 100,000 meals.
The Samosa SA property referenced by The Post was located in the vicinity of the largest tent camps in Port-au-Prince. Yele chose that location because it was closest to the people it needed serve.
All of these facts as well as photos and testimonials were readily available to The Post for their story. Unfortunately, they chose not to include these facts and instead chose to imply that Yele “squandered” donors money.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Finally, the percentage of funds used is consistent with NGOs and Not For Profits operating in Haiti at the time. I have acknowledged that Yele has made mistakes in the past, including being late in IRS filings, but that is old news. When I entered politics last summer, I transitioned from being a board member and chairman of Yele Haiti to a supporter.
The new and good news is that Yele under new leadership, despite efforts to undermine its credibility and effectiveness, continues its mission to serve people in need.
– Wyclef Jean