a Negro infidel quest for freedom, justice and equality

Wyclef Jean Foundation: A thin line between for-profit and non-profit

In Uncategorized on January 18, 2010 at 12:50 am


Wyclef Jean has been constantly appealing to the public for everyone to donate what they can to the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund through his foundation at the website yele.org. But allegations of Wyclef’s foundation mismanagement has brought about concern.

Some are calling it a smear campaign, but undoubtedly the breaking news of mismanagement by the Wyclef Jean Foundation Inc., a not-for-profit, requires its founders immediate attention.  Black radio across the nation has rallied the troops to text “Yele” to 501501 to donate $5 to his foundation in support of Haitian earthquake victims.  Black radio along with others quickly raised over two million in text message allotments alone.  One can speculate about the allegations; however, the fact that the foundation filed three years of tax returns all in one day isn’t the sign of a healthy non profit.

An Associated Press review of tax returns and independent audits provided by Jean’s foundation showed that it was closely intertwined with Jean’s businesses.

Three of the five foundation board members — Jean, Jerry Duplessis and Seth Kanegis — are involved in his personal music and business endeavors.

According to an IRS tax return from 2006 reviewed earlier by the Web site The Smoking Gun, the foundation paid $250,000 to buy airtime from Telemax S.A., a for-profit TV station in Haiti that is majority owned by Jean and Duplessis.
Part of that money went to pay for a concert in Haiti put on by Jean himself, Locke said.

Another $160,000 that year was spent on a concert in Monte Carlo that Jean participated in, of which $75,000 paid for backup singers and $25,000 went to Jean through a company he owns with Duplessis, Platinum Sound Recording Studios Inc., Locke said.

“I’m not saying he didn’t benefit from it,” said Locke, who says his own salary is $8,100 a month after taxes. “We were paying that to Platinum Sound because that covered the cost of him participating in the event.”

Locke argued that the foundation took in “several hundred thousand” dollars in exchange for Jean’s work through the proceeds of an auction.

The foundation also rents office space from Platinum Sound, paying about $2,600 a month in New York. Locke said the foundation also plans to partner with Jean’s Sak Pase Records to build a music studio to provide vocational training to Haitian children.

I certainly hope Wyclef speaks publicly about this dilemma to ensure the public that the Wyclef Foundation is not a scam.

I’ve worked and volunteered for a few non-profits and know first hand how monies can become easily misguided/rerouted to other stuff and how huge amounts of unrestricted discretionary funds get set aside and used for less funded programs and FAT salaries. I will wait and send my donation directly to a Haitian family through friends and family and or through Non-Believers Giving Aid. The effects of this disaster will remain in Haiti long after the media has gone and the next big story unfolds. Haitians will still need all those material things that jackazz Bush told the world not to collect. Bush said, “send your cash” only! Why did he speak? There went many donations out the window.

UPDATE: I just viewed Wyclef’s rebuttal reference allegations here However, he doesn’t do a good job at rectifying not one of the issues. Sorry, Wyclef, but I need some tangible documents, not a drafted speech. The highlight of the video was when he mentioned it is the public’s prerogative to select any organization to support the aid relief.

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