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Wyclef Jean Defends Former Charity’s Spending

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Singer Wyclef Jean in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Singer Wyclef Jean in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (CBSMiami) – Haiti-born hip-hop star Wyclef Jean is defending his former charity once again over the way money raised for earthquake relief in Haiti was spent.

According to CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald, Jean said an article in the New York Post questioning how his charity, Yele Haiti, spent millions of dollars in aid for victims of the January 2010 Haiti earthquake is “misleading, deceptive and incomplete.”

Yele Haiti took in $16 million in 2010, according to records obtained by the NY Post. But the paper claims only $5.1 million went to emergency relief efforts, including food and water delivery to makeshift survivor camps.

According to the Post, a company called P&A Construction received $353,983. That company, the paper says, is run by Warnel Pierre, Wyclef’s brother-in-law.

The Post also reported that $1 million was paid to a Florida firm that doesn’t appear to exist. The Post said the money went to a company called Amisphere Farm Labor Inc, which the paper said never filed the proper paperwork in Florida in order to do business. However, the farm’s owner, Amsterly Pierre, bought three properties in Florida last year, including a waterfront condo.

In a written statement, Jean fired back at the NY Post.

“The Post conveniently fails to acknowledge that the decisions that Yele made were a response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters in modern history and required an immediate humanitarian response,” Jean said. “We made decisions that enabled us to provide emergency assistance in the midst of chaos and we stand by those decisions.”

Jean said he’s proud of the way the charity responded after the devastating earthquake nearly two years ago.

He said the Yele Haiti Foundation rebuilt an orphanage and set up a system of outdoor toilet and shower facilities in one of the largest shanties in the Haitian capital.

This is not the first time Jean’s charity has been scrutinized for its finances, or spending. Immediately after the quake, the charity faced a whirlwind of controversy.

Jean resigned as head of the charity in August 2010.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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