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Wyclef Jean Defends Charity, Makes Plea for Haiti

Posted on Jan 18, 2010
Wyclef Jean
AP / Diane Bondareff

Wyclef Jean is overcome with emotion in New York on Monday while discussing his recent visit to quake-stricken Haiti and how his organization, Yele Haiti, is helping with relief efforts.

After spending three days in his earthquake-ravaged homeland, Haitian-born musician and onetime Fugee Wyclef Jean addressed the press in New York with a mixture of sorrow for his country and defiance about allegations that he had misappropriated funds intended to go to his foundation, Yele Haiti, in the past.  —KA

Rolling Stone:

Wyclef Jean addressed accusations against his Yele Haiti organization for the second time in as many days, delivering prepared remarks to a roomful of reporters at Manhattan’s Sheraton Hotel this afternoon.

Wyclef entered the press conference — held on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday — sporting a dark suit, blue dress shirt and striped tie. The toll of spending three days in Haiti seemed to be catching up to him. At one point he spoke directly to the cameras as he delivered remarks to Haiti in the country’s native tongue. Tears streamed down both sides of Wyclef’s cheeks as he spoke and a weariness set in around his darkened, red eyes. A loose translation of his speech relayed throughout the room explained his tears were not for him, but rather for the people of his country. Earlier Wyclef flashed his permanent green card and Haitian passport to illustrate how connected he still is to his country of birth.

After Wyclef’s remarks, he left and [Yele Haiti President Hugh] Locke took questions from the press, tackling inquiries about the Smoking Gun’s report head on, specifically the payouts from Yele Haiti to Wyclef’s for-profit companies, a recording studio in New York ($100,000) and a production company in Haiti ($250,000). (Currently, Locke said, the foundation has not spent any of the recently donated funds as they’ve been overwhelmed by the volume of the contributions.)

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Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, January 19, 2010 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

Hey ardee,

I hope you follow politics in NJ cause Governor Christie is going to appoint Bret Schundler to head the Education Department and if you don’t know Schundler’s position on teacher’s unions——Google it.  It’s gonna be a street brawl and with NJ on the economic rocks——you can stick a fork in the union—-they’re just about done!

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Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, January 19, 2010 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

As for the “Smoking Gun”——where there’s smoke there’s fire.  A rather large number of so called charities take care of themselves first and then dole out what’s left.  The only difference between “good” and “bad” charities is the percentage doled out.  Even the Red Cross is suspect, but they have great PR!  Next time you’re in DC go by the Red Cross headquarters——it’s a veritable palace!  Not too long ago I had the opportunity to attend a function there——I thought the glass stairway was a bit much.  I made a remark to my colleague “nice staircase for a charity.”  A few minutes later I was approached by a well dressed individual and told me to keep my remarks to myself or I would be escorted outside!  I would have said something, but I knew there would be a super buffet——those Red Cross people know how to throw a party!!!

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By ardee, January 19, 2010 at 5:47 am Link to this comment

It is regrettable that Mr. Jean did not directly explain his receiving of funds meant for charitable work. He might have noted that the work needed to be done and his own companies could do it at cost, for example. Now we still dont know.

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By Commune115, January 18, 2010 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment

I lost respect for Wyclef when he collaborated in the film Ghosts of Cité Soleil which spread false propaganda against the elected Aristide government and even justified the 2004 US-backed coup.

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