The Rev. Al Sharpton is the subject of a scathing New York Times article about his National Action Network owing millions in taxes while he travels first class and lives the high life. It’s interesting since Sharpton shmoozes with the big dogs — President Obama, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Obscured in his ascent, however, has been his troubling financial past, which continues to shadow his present.
Mr. Sharpton has regularly sidestepped the sorts of obligations most people see as inevitable, like taxes, rent and other bills. Records reviewed by The New York Times show more than $4.5 million in current state and federal tax liens against him and his for-profit businesses. And though he said in recent interviews that he was paying both down, his balance with the state, at least, has actually grown in recent years. His National Action Network appears to have been sustained for years by not paying federal payroll taxes on its employees.
With the tax liability outstanding, Mr. Sharpton traveled first class and collected a sizable salary, the kind of practice by nonprofit groups that the United States Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration recently characterized as “abusive,” or “potentially criminal” if the failure to turn over or collect taxes is willful.
Mr. Sharpton and the National Action Network have repeatedly failed to pay travel agencies, hotels and landlords. He has leaned on the generosity of friends and sometimes even the organization, intermingling its finances with his own to cover his daughters’ private school tuition.
National Action Network’s revenue has increased sharply, to more than $4 million in both 2011 and 2012, the year of the group’s most recent tax filing.
Much of that revenue appears to be from large corporate sponsors. A person who handled solicitations at a company that has supported the group said National Action Network often requested $50,000 or $100,000 to sponsor events.
Mr. Sharpton said his birthday party grossed about $1 million, enough that he expected to be able to clear up the organization’s tax debts, removing a cloud that has long hung over the group and himself.
“I think it shows we were able to continue to fund-raise, despite it being challenging,” he said. “We were able to turn it around.”
Source: NY Times
I am no big fan of Rev. Al Sharpton, but we live in a forgiving country, so why should we expect any less for him? I guess the bigger issue for me is the oversight of donations going to NAN and whether they are being used for worthy causes and not to finance the lifestyles of the employees.