Singer Wyclef Jean has stepped down as chairman of Yéle Haiti, the controversial charity he founded, amid indications he will file papers for a presidential run in Port-au-Prince today. Update: The Miami Herlad reports that he arrived at the national electoral office, flanked by body guards, shortly before it closed for the day and registered as an official candidate.
The move has been rumored since family members refused to deny suggestions that Jean would seek to replace term-limited President René Préval in November elections. The Associated Press reports that Jean will file his papers "at the provisional electoral council in the Haitian capital," Thursday afternoon, two days before the deadline.
Jean did not confirm his ambitions in a statement, saying only that he was "not stepping down in my commitment to Haiti. On the contrary, regardless of what path I take next, one thing is certain: My focus on helping Haiti turn a new corner will only grow stronger." But on his Twitter feed Jean posted that he was "Taking off on my way to Haiti me and my family About to make the biggest decision of our life." A picture of Jean, uncharacteristically dressed in a shirt and tie, accompanied the message.
Derek Q. Johnson, a businessman, will replace Jean at Yéle Haiti, according to the AP. The charity has been accused of impropriety amid allegations that it paid Jean to appear at fundraising concerts, and bought advertising on TV stations that he has a stake in.
Still, Yéle Haiti has raised $9 million this year, in the wake of January's devastating earthquake, and spent $1.5 million on "food, water, tents, clothes, and other products for quake survivors," according to the AP report.