This news was actually uncovered by National Review a few days ago, but things have been rather busy so we didn’t get around to it until now. The tax problems which Al Sharpton has run into with his National Action Network are well known and frequently documented. While the non-profit is more than a million dollars in debt to the tax man, Sharpton continues to tap it for a more than one quarter million dollar salary. But as Jillian Kay Melchior discovered with a bit more digging, Sharpton has also started up and abandoned a variety of for profit enterprises dating back decades. Each and every one of them seems to have mysteriously run into similar problems figuring out how much they needed to pay in taxes… if they paid any at all.
So far, every for-profit enterprise started by Al Sharpton and known to National Review Online has been shut down in at least one jurisdiction for failure to pay taxes, a review of public records in New York and Delaware reveals.
Records show that Sharpton’s beleaguered for-profit entities often overlap and intertwine, some sharing ties with the reverend’s nonprofit organization, National Action Network. Their financial records are copious, confusing, and sometimes outright bizarre, and together, they depict persistent financial woes for Sharpton, who also personally owes New York State nearly $596,000, according to active tax warrants.
Melchior tracks down a trail of failed businesses starting with one called Raw Talent, founded back in 1991. The company was dissolved by the state of New York in 2002, but not before the business ran up more than a half million dollars in federal tax debt and a nearly $5K tab to the state. The Reverend Al started Revals Communications in 1999 (coincidentally in the same offices as Raw Talent) and that one only lasted until the state shut it down in 2009, owing more than $200K to the feds and $175K to New York. Sharpton Media Group was founded in Delaware, where it lasted all of 36 months before being shut down in that state for failure to pay taxes, though it apparently remains active on paper in the Big Apple.
There were others, such as one called “Bo Spanky” which had similar problems. Frequently these for profit companies became intertwined with his National Action Network when they “loaned” money to the non-profit, whereupon the cash presumably disappeared. It creates a complicated web of funding which makes sorting it all out a difficult proposition. The long arm of the law has taken notice of Sharpton’s activities at times, though, and sought to straighten him out.
Sharpton has had brushes with the law. In 1990, a jury found him not guilty of 67 counts of fraud and larceny, though three years later, the reverend pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor tax charge.
Later, the Federal Election Commission found that National Action Network had inappropriately paid for expenses related to Sharpton’s 2004 presidential campaign.
Last March, Jeri Wright, a former president of the Chicago branch of National Action Network and the daughter of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, President Obama’s former pastor, was convicted of money laundering after participating in a fraud scheme involving another nonprofit.
This is some great reporting by National Review, and the lengthy report is definitely worth a full read. Sharpton has left a long paper trail of dubious activities, getting tagged for large tax liens, many of which are still outstanding. Yet for all of the charges swirling around Sharpton, his businesses and his cronies, he seems to have always managed to dance away on the edge of disaster and avoid being fully taken down and sent to the crowbar motel.
Oddly enough though, I believe he still has a job at MSNBC, so I guess this is all just one big misunderstanding.