Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Wyclef Jean defends Yele Haiti

wyclef_jean2.gi.top.jpgWyclef Jean in Miami on Saturday shooting his Haiti Relief Fund message. By Karen Pantelides, producer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Celebrity musician Wyclef Jean denounced charges that he misappropriated funds from his charity, Yele Haiti, and defended the foundation and his commitment to Haiti relief efforts.

"Let me be clear: I denounce any allegation that I have ever profited personally through my work with Yele Haiti," Jean said in a statement released Saturday. "These baseless attacks are simply not true."

Allegations that surfaced earlier on TheSmokingGun.com claimed the Haitian-born rap star was using money raised by the foundation to fund projects like his production company, recording studio and a live performance, for his personal gain.

According to a 2006 tax filing posted on The Smoking Gun, more than a third of the foundation's total revenue went to such miscellaneous expenses.

The biggest was a $250,000 payment to Telemax, a television production company owned by Jean and fellow Yele board member Jerry Duplessis. Others listed by The Smoking Gun were $31,000 in rent payments for Platinum Sound -- a Manhattan recording studio owned by Jean and Duplessis -- and $100,000 in payment for Jean to perform at a benefit concert.

Jean vigorously defended himself in a YouTube video posted Saturday.

"After digging kids up and finding cemeteries for them ... this is what I come back to, an attack on my integrity and my foundation," Jean said in the video.

He went on to explain that the charges were business expenses for Yele Haiti's fundraising efforts. "You can't put a show together without a production. You need lights, you need a stage ... All of these things have to be accounted for," he said.

Most charities allocate a portion of their revenues toward operating expenses.

Charity Navigator, an organization that evaluates charities, says that the most efficient charities put at least 75% toward programs related to their cause. Charity Navigator does not rate Yele Haiti, but reviewed the group's tax audits after the scandal broke. In 2008, Yele Haiti spent 69% of its budget on Haiti programs, according to Charity Navigator.

In his video, Jean also stressed that he has put $1 million of his own money into the foundation.

Since Tuesday's earthquake, Jean has been in Haiti assisting with relief efforts.

CNN's Hussein Saddique contrbuted to this report.  To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.93%3.86%
15 yr fixed2.99%3.02%
5/1 ARM3.26%3.20%
30 yr refi3.98%3.92%
15 yr refi3.05%3.06%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,812.19 19.51 0.11%
Nasdaq 5,102.81 0.33 0.01%
S&P 500 2,089.14 2.55 0.12%
Treasuries 2.24 -0.01 -0.31%
Data as of 6:00am ET
Company Price Change % Change
General Electric Co 30.66 0.08 0.26%
Pfizer Inc 31.97 0.65 2.07%
Bank of America Corp... 17.47 0.01 0.06%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 8.30 0.30 3.75%
Synchrony Financial 31.34 0.00 0.00%
Data as of Nov 24


The pharmaceutical company that increased the price of a drug used by AIDS and cancer patients 5,000% is slashing the price for hospitals. More

The financial deck appears to be stacked against blacks and Hispanics in America. They earn considerably less. They are more likely to be unemployed or in poverty and they are less likely to own a home. Yet despite all this, blacks and Hispanics are far more optimistic about being able to live the American Dream these days than whites. More

Watsi crowdfunds donations to cover healthcare costs of those in need. And it's seeing a surprising trend: micro-donations via the popular Chinese social networking app, WeChat. More

Some of the coolest toys this year are from small businesses. Here are 10 hot toys that just might be a smash hit this holiday season. More

Your new credit card might be safer, but it could lead to more headaches at the check-out line this holiday season. More