Al Sharpton’s Finances Under Scrutiny

Al Sharpton / AP

BY:

Al Sharpton’s finances are gaining scrutiny as his influences rises, the New York Times writes in a profile of Sharpton published Tuesday.

Sharpton’s visibility has slowly increased since he first gained prominence as a civil rights leader. His relationships with politicians such as New York Mayor Bill deBlasio, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and President Barack Obama have helped Sharpton gain traction on the national scene.

He has been in the news as much as ever this year, becoming a prominent advocate on behalf of the families of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died in police custody, and Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. He also has a daily platform through his show on MSNBC.

But while Sharpton’s influence is on the rise, so is scrutiny of his finances.

According to the Times, Sharpton has "more than $4.5 million in tax liens against him and his for-profit businesses."

Sharpton has been on record saying he is paying these balances down, but the Times review showed that his balance has been growing in recent years.

Sharpton manages to live lavishly, traveling first class and collecting a large salary, despite his outstanding tax liability.

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.

Financial and legal problems have plagued Sharpton for decades.

He was acquitted in 1990 of felony charges that he stole $250,000 from his youth group. He pleaded guilty in 1993 to failing to file state income taxes. He lost a defamation suit in 1998. The IRS began investigating his group National Action Network in 2007. He was sued by his landlord in 2006 for $56,000 and again in 2008 for $42,000.

Today, Mr. Sharpton still faces personal federal tax liens of more than $3 million, and state tax liens of $777,657, according to records. Raw Talent and Revals Communications owe another $717,329 on state and federal tax liens.

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