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Saturday, January 16, 2010

SmokingGun.com "Wyclef Jean Charity's Funny Money"

From the TheSmokingGun.com
As seen on the following pages from the foundation's 2006 tax return, the group paid $31,200 in rent to Platinum Sound, a Manhattan recording studio owned by Jean and Jerry Duplessis, who, like Jean, is a foundation board member. A $31,200 rent payment was also made in 2007 to Platinum Sound. The rent, tax returns assure, "is priced below market value."

The recording studio also was paid $100,000 in 2006 for the "musical performance services of Wyclef Jean at a benefit concert." That six-figure payout, the tax return noted, "was substantially less than market value." The return, of course, does not address why Jean needed to be paid to perform at his own charity's fundraiser. But the largest 2006 payout--a whopping $250,000--went to Telemax, S.A., a for-profit Haiti company in which Jean and Duplessis were said to "own a controlling interest." The money covered "pre-purchased...TV airtime and production services" that were part of the foundation's "outreach efforts" in Haiti. No further description of these services was offered, though the return claimed that "the fees paid are below market" and that the use of Telemax was the "most efficient way of providing these services." The group's tax returns also report "consultant" payments totaling $300,000 between 2005-2007, while the 2006 return reported nearly $225,000 in "promotion and PR" costs.


Wyclef Jean responded on youtube.

He doesn't address any of the real allegations, basically just says, "Trust me, I put my own money in."

The video is actually quite telling. Instead of being upfront and admitting problems or being mad the money might have been squandered Wyclef makes it all about him. Fail on the video, Wyclef. Not accusing the man of anything but I wouldn't give my money to this charity. And to point out that his response was not acceptable. He should be mad about where the money's gone not at the fact that the media is reporting it...

As one poster on the video said, "Men can lie, women lie, numbers on a tax form don't (lie)."

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