We perish because we know not… #TLENews
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.
“He clearly appears — based on the information that’s available to us — to have a history of noncompliance with tax obligations,” says Bernadette Schopfer, the director of taxation at New York’s Maier Markey & Justic, a certified public-accounting firm that has had no dealings with Sharpton or National Action Network. “It appears that [Sharpton] does not file [taxes for his businesses], and then opens up something else. At all the entities we see he has opened up, he has not been compliant with the obligations of the owner of a business. . . . He’s either willful in his behavior, or he’s just sloppy.”
Sharpton, who was traveling internationally, was unavailable for an interview, despite NRO’s numerous queries over several days.
Sharpton’s first for-profit company, Raw Talent, probably has the strangest set of tax-debt records. The company was incorporated as a for-profit entity in 1991, the same year Sharpton founded National Action Network.
Raw Talent racked up a lot of tax debt. According to a 2007 lien that appears to remain active, the company owed a total of $580,453 in federal taxes, and state records say it also owes $4,834 in New York taxes.
For some reason, the federal lien says the taxes owed are for the tax period ending in 1950 — long before Raw Talent was incorporated. (Perhaps this is a clerical error, Schopfer says.) The kind of tax debt listed is also strange: It’s listed under the code 4720, which signifies an excise tax on charities, even though Raw Talent was registered as a for-profit entity, not a philanthropic nonprofit. A spokesperson for the Internal Revenue Service could not explain this to NRO, saying privacy laws prohibit the agency from commenting on the tax situations of specific individuals or entities.
New York dissolved Raw Talent in 2002 for failure to pay taxes, but not before Sharpton opened up a new company, Revals Communications, in 1999.
Revals Communications has its own set of oddities. For starters, various records show it shared Battery Park Place and Broadway office addresses with the soon-to-be defunct Raw Talent.
From the very beginning, Revals Communications ran into tax problems. The records indicate the company either failed to file or failed to pay taxes from 1999 to 2002.
The tax debt started off slowly, at $10,585 in total for the first three years. But in 2002, the same year Raw Talent dissolved, Revals Communications’ unpaid balance ballooned by an additional $215,606. Meanwhile, a 2007 New York tax warrant shows Revals Communications also owed the state $175,962. New York finally dissolved the company in 2009.