Wyclef Jean (given name Nel Wyclef Jean), who's been planning to run for Haiti's presidency, owes the IRS more than $2.1 million according to federal tax liens. Saying the whole situation is "questionable" is an understatement.
The Tax Debt: Haitian hip hop musician and producer Wyclef Jean had multiple liens filed against him. The IRS filed a $724,332 tax lien back in May, then another $599,167 last July. Yet another $792,269 tax lien was filed against Jean Wyclef in July of 2007. These liens covers taxes that were due on his individual 1040 returns for 2006 through 2008.
The Lavish Life: Wyclef Jean bought a $1.85 million home where he lives with his family. The tax liens were filed against him at this lavish home. It looks like the music gig pays good- so why didn't Wyclef pay his taxes? It's mind boggling! Especially in light of some questionable financial decisions involving his charity and the fact that he's had to settle two smaller tax liens filed by New Jersey and New York State.
Questionable "Charity": After the tragic Haitian earthquake, there were reports detailing questionable handling of the finances of his charitable foundation (The Wyclef Jean Foundation). Going beyond filing late tax returns, he dipped into foundation funds and paid himself and his business partner (his cousin Jerry Duplessis) more than $410,000 for production services, rent, and Jean Wyclef's appearance at a charity benefit concert.
Despite the fact that the Wyclef Jean Foundation had a deficit and cash flow issues, Jean and his partner/cousin paid themselves $65,000 for rent payments on their Manhattan recording studio. The $65,000 prepaid 25 months of rent for the studio, it was done for the foundation's use of a table in the studio's kitchen. Hmmm.... The foundation has received millions in donations, but how the funds were spent and allocated still remains a mystery.
New President of Haiti? Wyclef Jean is officially running for presidency in Haiti. Analysts say his star power and resources make him a strong candidate with a high chance of winning. My question is this, if he and his team can't manage to pay their taxes on time or run a charitable organization with integrity- how can he be trusted to rebuild a devastated country?
If he became President of Haiti he would be in charge of proper allocation of foreign aid payments. Is he responsible enough to handle the pressures and temptations of being the President of Haiti? Leave your thoughts in the comments.