Wyclef's campaign for the presidency of Haiti has brought predictable scrutiny on his time at the head of Yele Haiti—the badly mismanaged charity whose problems have been cataloged here before. But there's more—he rented a lion! For charity?
Previously reported "missteps" (the generous way to put it) by Yele Haiti include reports that Wyclef paid his mistress more than $100k through Yele; that Wyclef demanded a $100k fee to appear at a fundraiser for his hometown; and that Yele's atrocious financial management simply meant it was not equipped to help those in need in Haiti. Today, the New York Times dug up a new thing that might concern donors: Yele's former director says Wyclef used $250,000 of the charity's money "to help cover the costs of a carnival float."
The float featured Mr. Jean in a frilly blouse and gilded epaulettes as Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the Haitian revolutionary hero. Mr. Jean also imported a lion for the spectacle, keeping it in the parking lot of the Montana Hotel, now destroyed, where the kitchen crew fed the beast sirloin steaks.
Wyclef says the float was paid for by a corporate sponsor; the NYT's two inside sources say otherwise. And this is in addition to questions the Times raises about whether Yele is even doing the work it claims to be doing with Haitian refugee camps right now. Wyclef stiffing the Refugees would be pretty cold, after he made a whole album with the Refugee All Stars. [Pic: Getty]