July 14, 2003

The Tax Man Cometh.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:19 pm

The Tax Man Cometh.
Papers filed with the Federal Election Commission revealed that presidential candidate Al Sharpton is being audited by the IRS. The audit covers several years during the 1990’s. The document provides a rare peek into the rather mysterious world of Mr. Sharpton’s finances, and how it is he manages to put bread on the table.

We learn that last year Mr. Sharpton reported having earned $381,900, which is broken out as follows:

$120,000 from “Reverend Al Productions” for speeches and sermons;

$ 78,000 from the National Action Network, a non-profit organization founded by Mr. Sharpton;

$ 75,000 from the publisher of his book “Al on America.”;

$ 30,000 from SPN Broadcasting, described as a suburban Detroit firm;

$ 25,000 from PepsiCo for his work as a member of the company’s “black advisory board.”;

$ 25,000 for “consulting services” provided to Global Hue, Inc., a marketing company;

$ 25,000 for “consulting services” provided to Hawkins Food Group (here is a pic of Mr. Sharpton, Mr. Hawkins and others – scroll to 2nd photo), and

$ 3,900 (at least) from Inner City Broadcasting.

This is not Mr. Sharpton’s first encounter with the IRS.

He was indicted in 1989 for income tax fraud and stealing money from charitable donors, but he was acquitted of the charges in a jury trial.

In 1993, he pleaded guilty of failing to file a tax return in 1986.

In a December 2000 Deposition [depositions are given under oath], Mr. Sharpton testified that he had not filed a tax return since 1998.

Read about the tax audit here (Newsday may have already taken the article down) and here.

So, with reported earnings of almost $400K, Mr. Sharpton does pretty well for himself. I note that he received a hefty $120,000 for speeches and sermons. I believe that it is fair to ask what particular academic or other credentials “Reverend” Sharpton has to be giving sermons. Although biographical information on Mr. Sharpton is scarce, he credentials as a “Reverend” are clear. He was “licensed and ordained” at age 10. I am green with envy. I wish I could have been licensed as a lawyer (no ordination necessary, thank you) at age 10. I could have saved myself all the needless expense and work getting an education.

As for Mr. Sharpton’s education, we are told that he “attended Brooklyn College” between 1973 and 1975. No transcript was included with the biographical information. It is more likely that he honed his skills that qualify him to be president by serving as James Brown’s road manager from 1973-1980 (maybe he took those classes at Brooklyn College on those occasions when the Godfather of Soul’s tour hit New York City).

I also find myself being not just a little curious about why PepsiCo has something called a “black advisory board,” and what type of services Mr. Sharpton rendered for his $25,000. We’ll never get a look at Mr. Sharpton’s records concerning his consulting income, presumably including those records relating to his services to PepsiCo, Global Hue, and the Hawkins Food Group. His campaign reported that the records were lost in the fire at the headquarters earlier this year at the National Action Network headquarters in Harlem. I’m sure that those three companies have records, and I’m sure that the IRS knows how to get them. Oh, and one wonders why he would have used the offices of a non-profit organization to house the records of his profit-making activities, and one also wonders if he administered or conducted any of his profit-making activities from the non-profit organization’s office. If so, I can only presume that he reimbursed the National Action Network for the use of its facilities.

Not filing tax returns in 1986, 1998, and 1999? I guess he just plain forgot.

Mr. Sharpton’s income may well soar in the future if he is successful in his $1 billion defamation suit against HBO. The suit arises from HBO’s broadcasting in 2002 of an old FBI tape showing Mr. Sharpton participating in a discussion with an FBI informant and an undercover agent about laundering money from mafia-connected drug deals. Mr. Sharpton has claimed that he was “play acting” on the tape in order to extricate himself from the meeting. He also claims that HBO has one or more additional tapes that are exculpatory, and he has demanded that they be aired as well. When asked why he didn’t report the money-laundering meeting to the police, he stated that he did not do so because the police would not have believed him (scroll down to “Rev. Sharpton Tells the Rest of the Story”). I cannot imagine why.

And now he wants to be President of the United States. It would be funny, if it weren’t so damned pathetic.

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Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:06 pm

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