I don’t doubt for a minute that Wyclef Jean is passionate about Haiti. He cared so much for the future of his home country that he tried to run in their 2010 presidential election— though was later rejected because his residency didn’t check out— and his founding of the Yéle Haiti Foundation has specific aims to improve the lives of Haitians.
But Wyclef, seriously, what the heck is going on with all of these financial scandals?
Currently, the Yele charity is under fire amidst reports that the organizations VP got a $42,000 pay bump in 2009. Evidence of the mishandling of funds was obtained by the New York Post, which showed that Zakiya Khatou-Chevassus was paid $147,000 for her services in 2009 after a promotion from consultant to vice president… seems like a pretty hefty raise considering she is now earning $15,000 more than the charity’s president, Hugh Locke.
Perhaps the pay hike stems from rumors that the former member of the Fugees is entangled in a romantic relationship with Khatou-Chevassus, who was allegedly Jean’s personal assistant before her involvement with the charity.
The Yele Foundation was originally developed to provide immediate relief to hurricane victims, and later expanded its goals to include scholarships and community development programs to Haitian citizens. And the organization really made some ground with support, reportedly receiving $14 million in donations after the initial disaster.
During his presidential bid, Jean stated that, “First, I freely admit that missteps were made when Yele was in its infancy as a grassroots movement before the earthquake.” And then added, “They can knock me down, but I’ll always get back up. Especially if it’s in defense of my good name and my undying devotion to the country I love.”
The organization is now out of its infancy, and these growing pains are only going to get tougher for Jean. Even though I do hope/think/believe (?) he means well…