IRS Now After Wyclef Jean As The Potential Haitian Presidential Candidate Reportedly Owes More Than $2.1 Million

Wyclef Jean, who appears ready to announce his candidacy for Haiti’s presidency, owes the Internal Revenue Service more than $2.1 million, according to federal tax liens filed against the musician, The Smoking Gun has learned.

In May, the IRS filed a $724,332 tax lien against Jean. Last July, the agency filed a $599,167 lien against the performer. And a $792,269 lien was lodged against Jean in July 2007. The liens cover taxes due on Jean’s individual 1040 returns for 2006, 2007 and 2008. Copies of the liens, which were filed at the Bergen County clerk’s office in New Jersey, can be viewed at left.

In 1998, Jean–whose given name is Nel Wyclef Jean–purchased a $1.85 million home at 8 Cameron Road in Saddle River, where he lives with his wife Claudinette and their family. The three IRS liens were filed against Nel W. Jean at the Cameron Road address.

Other records show that Jean, 37, has previously been the subject of two smaller tax liens filed against him by the State of New Jersey and the New York State Tax Commission, both of which were eventually satisfied.

Following the Haitian earthquake, TSG reported on Jean’s questionable handling of the finances of his charitable foundation. Along with filing tax returns years late, Jean used his foundation to pay himself and a business partner more than $410,000 for rent, production services, and Jean’s appearance at a benefit concert.

Though the Wyclef Jean Foundation had operated at a deficit and experienced cash flow problems, Jean actually paid himself and a partner (his cousin Jerry Duplessis) $65,000 in upfront rent payments for space at a Manhattan recording studio the duo owns. The prepaid 25 months worth of rent covered the foundation’s use of a café table in the studio’s kitchen. Jean’s foundation has received millions in donations since the Haiti tragedy, but it is unknown how the group has spent those funds.

Along with attempting to rebuild a devastated country, the next Haitian president will be in charge of handling foreign aid payments as well as the nation’s own limited financial resources

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