In the wake of the devastating earthquake that battered Haiti in 2010, Wyclef Jean immediately stepped up his efforts to raise relief money for the island through his Yele Haiti foundation. Eventually the non-profit came under fire for financial scandals, and in September, it was shuttered completely, but Wyclef maintains that history will account for his positive work.
According to The New York Times, Yele Haiti went out of business last month, leaving behind considerable debt and a few unfinished projects. The Times reports that auditors zeroed in on $3 million of the organization’s expenses from 2005 to 2009, concluding that $256,580 was used for illegal benefits and improper transactions like private air transportation and chauffeur services.
Wyclef, who recently released his memoir, “Purpose: An Immigrant’s Story,” has been taking all of the criticism in stride.
“When you start an organization, there are gonna be mistakes, but the mistakes were never us banking money in our pockets to get rich on behalf of our people,” he told MTV News in late September, in the midst of Yele Haiti’s downward spiral. “When those kind of mistakes are made within governance, you bring in new accountants, new governance, and that’s what we did.”
“The legacy of Yele Haiti and why people trust in Yele Haiti is because it’s not something I created when the earthquake came,” he continued. “This is something I created in 2005. Always remember this: If you decide that you’re not just gonna be musician, you’re not gonna just be a rapper, you’re gonna stand up for something and be in the forefront of it, you’re gonna get challenged constantly.”
Clef explained that he felt the need to step up and help out his country when its people were most in need, even if the negative seems to be taking front and center right now. “When history tells its tale to define the truth … one thing about history, as history goes it will protect me,” he said. “So there’s one thing that you might feel now, but 70 years from now, a hundred years from now, when you’re not around, facts come out. So history will always be on my side because the truth eventually ends up coming out.”