Wyclef Tearfully Defends Haiti Charity

Musician says he has nothing but pure intentions

By Caitlin Millat
|  Monday, Jan 18, 2010  |  Updated 4:34 PM CDT
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Wyclef Jean Monday tearfully defended his efforts to help earthquake victims in Haiti, denying allegations he used funds from his charity for personal reasons.

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Wyclef Jean Monday tearfully defended his efforts to help earthquake victims in Haiti, denying allegations he used funds from his charity for personal reasons and urging the evacuation of Haiti's capital.

Jean spoke at a Manhattan press conference to respond publicly for the second time to the accusations, which began over the weekend as questions about Yele's tax forms circulated through the media as the charity became well-known.

"Did I ever use Yele money for personal benefits? Absolutely not," CNN reported Jean said Monday.

"Yele's books are open and transparent, and we have a clean bill of health by an external auditor every year since we started," Jean said in defense of Yele.

The musician and producer got emotional when he began speaking directly to Haitian victims, transitioning to Creole as he assured Haitians he was working around the clock to ensure aid would reach them.

"I do not cry for myself, I cry for them," he said tearfully. "I tell them, just permit us a little time."

Jean said he envisions temporary settlements outside of capital Port-au-Prince that would house 100,000 people each.

The Smoking Gun claimed this weekend Jean was pouring cash raised from Yele Haiti into his production company as well as his recording studio, citing the charity's 2006 tax forms.

Jean responded to the accusations for the first time this weekend, calling the attacks "baseless."

Yele Haiti has so far funneled "millions of dollars" into the devastated country, according to Yele Haiti execs.

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