Musician and wannabe politician Wyclef Jean may want to reconsider his campaign to run for the next presidential election in Haiti after rumors recently surfaced of outstanding IRS debt. Jean’s problems with the IRS should come as no surprise as this hip-hop star was first red flagged three years ago and has since incurred a total of $2.1 million worth of tax liens, including the most recent one that was filed in May of this year. While Wyclef Jean is an active founder and supporter of donations to Haiti, it seems like he could use a little help himself as even his Haitian aid charity, Yele has come under fire for financial problems.
Despite being stricken by the IRS three years ago, Jean was up for a rude awakening this May when the IRS made it clear that they meant business, issuing a $724,332 tax lien against his New Jersey house valued at nearly $2 million. It, however, is nothing new to this hip-hop star as a $792,269 tax lien was filed against him in 2007 and a $599,167 t tax lien just last year, all referring to taxes that were due on Jean’s 1040 tax return for 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Wyclef Jean may have a hard time explaining to the Haitian public where all of the funds collected by his charity are going. Not only has the charity been running at a deficit but it seems to be donating more towards Wyclef and his family than to the people of Haiti. Wyclef reportedly used the charity to pay himself and his cousin money to rent a production studio in NYC totaling $65,000 and over $410,000 for production services and his appearance at various benefit concerts. Despite the “foundation” earning millions of dollars after the tragedy in Haiti, there is little evidence as to where that money went.
Given this, is Wyclef to be trusted with the power of the presidency and handling Haiti’s debt payments and funds when he cannot seem even to keep track of his own? We’ll find out tonight as Wyclef Jean is due to make an announcement from Haiti on his updated campaign plans.