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JANUARY 14--The Haiti earthquake has already triggered hundreds of thousands of donations to musician Wyclef Jean's charitable foundation, which expects to raise upwards of $1 million a day in the disaster's wake. However, Internal Revenue Service records show the group has a lackluster history of accounting for its finances, and that the organization has paid the performer and his business partner at least $410,000 for rent, production services, and Jean's appearance at a benefit concert. Though the Wyclef Jean Foundation, which does business as Yele Haiti Foundation, was incorporated 12 y
Originally posted by angeliquemarquis
Do you really think that in the face of such catastrophe, when Wyclef has lost one of his recording artists and probably some extended family members/ distant relatives - do you think he is thinking "wow!! this is a perfect time for a money grab"??
I have had the pleasure of working with him many years ago on a dance choreography routine (done to the soundtrack of "shaft") and hung out with him on the NYC club scene..
He is not a conniving money hungry savvy charity embezzler!! Give credit where credit is due!! and if you don't want to give to his charity, then give to the red cross or 'medecins sans frontiers' or another organization on the ground that uses more than 60% of charitable donations directly to the people and their needs, and not administrative costs.
then give to the red cross or 'medecins sans frontiers' or another organization on the ground that uses more than 60% of charitable donations directly to the people and their needs, and not administrative costs.
For instance, the charity recorded a payment of $250,000 to Telemax, a TV station and production company in Haiti in which Jean and Jerry Duplessis, both members of Yele Haiti's board of directors, had a controlling interest. The charity paid about $31,000 in rent to Platinum Sound, a Manhattan recording studio owned by Jean and Duplessis. And it spent an additional $100,000 for Jean's performance at a benefit concert in Monaco. Locke said that Jean and Duplessis were unavailable for comment Friday. The Telemax money was used for "everything from public-service announcements to educational programming," said Jesse Derris of the public relations firm Sunshine, Sachs and Associates, which is representing Yele Haiti. They used their own company "because it was a way to buy time at a significant discount." The rent included office space and shared receptionist services for the charity and is "severely reduced" below market rate, Derris said. All the proceeds of the benefit concert went directly to Yele Haiti, he said. Locke said the $100,000 included expenses, such as payments to backup musicians and production costs. Yele Haiti reported nearly $1.9 million in income on its 2008 tax return.
When we called a contact number for Duplessis listed in Yele Haiti's tax return, a receptionist at Platinum Sounds answered the phone and referred us to a public relations firm. We haven't heard back from the publicist. We also tried to contact Hugh Locke, the head of Orsa Consultants, a firm that Yele Haiti paid $82,000 in 2006. According to this 2005 press release, Orsa is a "corporate social responsibility consultancy" that managed Yele Haiti's programs; we couldn't find any public references to Orsa independent of Yele Haiti, and the firm's web site is no longer operative. When we called Lock, he immediately handed the phone to someone identifying herself as "Mrs. Lock," who referred us to the PR firm. When we asked her about Yele Haiti's expenditures, she said, "Our finances are totally straightened out. We have filed, and are up to date on everything." None of this means that Jean, Duplessis, and Yele Haiti aren't doing important work in Haiti, or that they can't play a constructive role in responding to the earthquake crisis. It does mean that, if the past is any guide, they are unlikely to wisely manage any of the money they are currently collecting from concerned Americans on behalf of the victims in Haiti.