“NY Times” Report: Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network Have Big Financial Troubles

November 18, 2014  |  

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A New York Times report says Rev. Al Sharpton has $4.5 million in tax liens on him and his for-profit company that he’s in the process of paying down, just one of a few financial troubles that he and his civil rights organization the National Action Network (NAN) suffer from. NAN, the paper says, has been kept afloat by failing to pay payroll taxes. Together, both he and the organization have in the past failed to pay basic expenses like rent and fees to travel agencies. Moreover, the finances of Rev. Sharpton and NAN are tied so closely that he has used the group to pay personal bills, like his daughter’s school tuition.

Rev. Sharpton has been forthright about the financial troubles, saying that he’s paying them. And his new elevated status — he’s considered a friend and advisor to President Obama, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and others — along with the visibility of an MSNBC program is driving donations to the NAN and could potentially lead to other opportunities. He recently celebrated his 60th birthday with a fancy Four Seasons party where the Mayor and Gov. Andrew Cuomo were among the guests. The party, also a fundraiser for NAN, was a sponsored event.

As for NAN, it has served as a resource for Rev. Al (money from the organization helped pay for his run for president a few years back) but experienced a sharp decline in funds and was on the hook for millions in taxes and other expenses. At one point, it kept the doors open through money from Rev. Al, who started to see his fortunes turn as he became more involved with the media. The Treasury Department has actually classified some of the practices in place as “abusive” and the Times says the NAN is one of the most delinquent nonprofits in the country.

The article gives a detailed history of Rev. Sharpton’s run ins with the legal system and dealings that are more than a little shady. And while he has said publicly that he has few assets, he still travels and lives well by all accounts.

The birthday party raised $1 million, which should help pay some of the back debts, but there’s still more to do. And just today, Rev. Al tweeted the results of a Quinnipiac poll that finds two-thirds of Black consider him the most important Black leader in New York City. As long as he continues to keep close ties with sponsors and power players, he should be able to keep the money coming in.

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