Charitable efforts to help Haiti back on its feet after a devastating earthquake in 2010 have attracted scepticism before. But today's New York Times report on staggering waste at the hip-hop star Wyclef Jean's charity, Yéle, will be enough to make many think twice before reaching into their pocket again.
In the aftermath of the earthquake, Wyclef raised some $16 million to help the afflicted. But "an examination of the charity indicates that millions in donations for earthquake victims went to its own offices, salaries, consultants’ fees and travel, to Mr. Jean’s brother-in-law for projects never realized, to materials for temporary houses never built and to accountants dealing with its legal troubles".
The revelations include:
- The walled country estate the charity leased for its headquarters, at a cost of $600,000, is deserted.
- Wyclef Jean was paid $100,000 to perform at a fund-raiser...for his own charity.
- $24,000 was paid for Mr. Jean’s chauffeur service.
- $30,763 for was paid for a private jet that transported Lindsay Lohan from New Jersey to a benefit in Chicago that raised only $66,000.
There is hope for well-meaning celebrities, however. In contrast to Mr Jean's charity, Sean Penn's has acted with far greater propriety, and done some good, says the Times.