Former Fugees frontman Wyclef Jean is defending his charity, Yéle Haiti, and its response after the catastrophic earthquake in his native Haiti in 2010.
Nearly two years after the devastation -- the third deadliest quake on record -- Jean is again the center of controversy following a report in the New York Post that questioned his charity's use of public donations. The Yéle Haiti organization had previously come under criticism for alleged fund mismanagement after failing to file IRS reports.
On Sunday, the Post reported that out of the $16 million the foundation collected in 2010, less than a third of the funds had gone to emergency efforts. The charity’s 2010 tax filings reportedly show that Yéle Haiti spent only $5.1 million on aid, with $1 million of that paid to a Florida firm that doesn't appear to exist.
Apparently, Wyclef Jean won't be gone till November after all. Earlier this month, the former Fugees rapper and philanthropist announced his candidacy to be the next president of Haiti, but according to a Reuters report, his bid does not satisfy legal requirements to make the official ballot in November.
The 37-year-old musician has come under fire in recent weeks for the decision, with Sean Penn lambasting his decision and Win Butler of the Arcade Fire comparing Jean's bid to "Arnold Schwarzenegger only speaking Austrian and being elected president of the United States after New York and L.A. had burned to the ground."
Even his former bandmate, Pras, assailed Jean's lack of fluency in French and Creole as a chief impediment to tackling the complex workings of the Haitian government and dealing with the country's problems of poverty and a crumbled infrastructure, in the wake of the cataclysmic earthquake that struck in January.
According to the Reuters report, Jean did not meet the proper residency requirements, namely, five consecutive years of residency prior to being eligible to run. Jean has yet to comment publicly on the reports.
As of earlier this week, he had reportedly been in hiding after several threats to his life -- presumably using this song as his theme music.
-- Jeff Weiss
Photo: Wyclef Jean walks the street in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Credit: Peter Andrew Bosch / MCT