Wyclef Jean's Charity Quietly Goes Bust

When last remaining employee quits
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2012 10:34 AM CDT
Wyclef Jean speaks to Yele Corps workers following a church service commemorating the anniversary of last year's earthquake in Port Au Prince, Haiti, Jan. 12, 2011.   (AP Photo/Lee Celano, Yele Haiti)

(Newser) – Wyclef Jean's ineffective and scandal-plagued charity Yéle quietly went belly up last month, after CEO Derek Johnson announced his resignation. "As the foundation's sole remaining employee, my decision implies the closure of the organization as a whole," he wrote. In its wake, the charity leaves "a trail of debts, unfinished projects, and broken promises," the New York Times writes in a profile today. In Haiti, there's little sign it ever existed; its headquarters is abandoned, its tents and tarps have disintegrated, and its street cleaning crews have disbanded.

Johnson bailed after Jean—the hip-hop star and would-be president—turned down a settlement from New York's attorney general, which has been investigating the charity. The settlement, covering Yéle's pre-earthquake misdeeds, would have required the charity to submit to a forensic audit, and its founders to pay $600,000 to make up for charity funds they wasted. Of course, pre-earthquake Yéle was tiny. Post-earthquake it grew, raising $9 million in 2010, of which half went to pay for its own offices, travel expenses, and fees. Money also went to questionable contracts—including some to Jean's brother-in-law for projects that never materialized. For much more, including how the charity stiffed orphanages of vegetables, see the source. (Read more Wyclef Jean stories.)

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