Yéle Haiti, the charity founded by hip-hop star Wyclef Jean that raised $16-million for earthquake victims in his native country, leaves little tangible evidence of its work in the Caribbean nation as it closes up shop, The New York Times writes.
Long dogged by questions about its finances, Yéle remains the subject of an inquiry by New York’s attorney general. Since Mr. Jean was disqualified in 2010 from running for Haiti’s presidency because he lives in New Jersey, the group has largely disappeared, leaving behind heavy debts and unfinished projects, according to the Times.
Derek Q. Johnson, who replaced Mr. Jean as Yéle’s CEO during the rapper’s aborted presidential run, announced his resignation in late August, telling the charity’s supporters in written statement that as he was the “foundation’s sole remaining employee, my decision implies the closure of the organization as a whole.”
In the year following the devastating January 2010 earthquake, Yéle spent about $9-million, half of it for travel, salaries, and consultants’ fees and office and storage expenses, an audit found. The organization also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on projects that were not completed and contracts that went to Mr. Jean’s brother-in-law.
In a recently published memoir Mr. Jean lashed out at critics who insinuated he had used Yéle to enrich himself or associates, defending the charity’s work and writing that he had endured a “crucifixion” over its finances.