Wyclef Jean's highly-hyped Haiti charity defunct and in debt, surprising approximately nobody

Yéle, the Haiti charity of rock star Wyclef Jean that took in some $16 million after the 2010 eaarthquake, is bust. How bust? So bust that their domain, yele.org, has expired.

Deborah Sontag in the NYT, writing about the rockstar who once thought himself a good choice as president of Haiti:

"In a new memoir, Wyclef Jean, the Haitian-born hip-hop celebrity, claims he endured a “crucifixion” after the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake when he faced questions about his charity’s financial record and ability to handle what eventually amounted to $16 million in donations."

But, as Sontag writes, an ongoing investigation by the NY attorney general’s office has found financial improprieties at the nonprofit, which effectively went out of business in September, "leaving a trail of debts, unfinished projects and broken promises."

And defunct domains.

(via Damien Cave)


    1.  I was going to suggest giving the guy a break, but if the NY AG is finding dirt, then that’s pretty sad. 16 Mil properly spent would have made a significant impact. Hell, just building music programs for rebuilt schools would have seemed like an appropriate thing to do.

  1. This is a prime illustration for why people shouldn’t just dump money into the charities that pop up after any one of these disasters. 

    Greedy, morally bankrupt sociopaths like this are more than happy to pop up, steal as much as possible (from those who need it the most), and sink back into the slime. 

    1.  Sociopath seems a bit strong don’t you think? Or is there something I’m missing about this story?

  2. This does not prove him more fiscally irresponsible than those running Haiti for the last 200 years or so.

  3. “Instant” charities seem to almost always indicate instant fraud.   Charities run by or headed by “celebrities” make me back away quickly until someone neutral gets to audit them.  There’s quite often the little matter of “expenses”.  The person may not get paid but you’d be amazed how often they own some company that is getting a boatload of money from the said charity or payments are being made to a shell corporation that most such people have to insulate themselves from fiscal reality.

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