Last updated: 1:41 pmIT'S CHARITY - H'WOOD STYLEA LOOK AT THE BOOKS OF 10 'CAUSE' CELEBS
By ISABEL VINCENT and MELISSA KLEIN
November 9, 2008
Posted: 4:37 am
November 9, 2008
THEY have good looks, but they could use some serious help straightening out their books.
George Clooney, Bono, Wyclef Jean, Petra Nemcova and a half-dozen other celebs have founded charities that have some eyebrow-raising business practices, The Post uncovered in a sweeping review.
Jean's charity to help Haitians has failed to file tax returns for eight years. Bono's mega-foundation chartered a plane to Africa and bought tickets for a U2 concert.
Poker lover George Clooney took in donations from a dubious online card-games company. And Giant Super Bowl hero Osi Umenyiora has dropped the ball when it comes to even registering his charity to benefit Africa and research into Alzheimer's disease.
"You need to have people managing the organization that are well versed in the letter of the law," said Bennett Weiner, chief operating officer of the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance. "Just because a celebrity is associated with a charity doesn't mean they are doing any of this."
Here are 10 celeb charities that raised red flags, according to a Post examination of federal tax forms and other records.1.) Yele Haiti (Wyclef Jean Foundation)
Former Fugees member Wyclef Jean's charity aims to address educational, environmental and emergency-relief issues in his native Haiti. It has a slick Web site and financial support from Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie but has not filed a US tax form since 2000. An insider at the charity told The Post that where the money goes in Haiti is a mystery, or if part of the haul went to purchase a television station in Port-au-Prince. Charity President Hugh Locke said, "We are in arrears in our filing." He said that large donations go directly to projects in Haiti, where the organization is registered as a charity. He said the missing IRS documents would be filed by the end of the year. The forms are required to allow them to receive donations that can be tax deductible and to avoid paying taxes on their donations. The charity also has not completed the required New York state registration, according to Attorney General's Office records. Meanwhile, Jean owes the state of New Jersey $183,172 in personal income tax, a sum Jean's spokesman said last month the singer was in the process of paying.