Amazingly convenient: Fires shield Rev. Al Sharpton from tax debts

What is the next best thing to crashing a hard drive or simply deleting emails altogether? Well, some might say, “Burn This ** Down!”

Jillian Kay Melchior of National Review has been on a bit of a crusade against Rev. Al Sharpton, the firebrand community organizer and closely-held White House ally, which already produced some extremely damning information, such as widespread financial irregularities at his non-profit ventures, or the surprising fact that every for-profit enterprise started by Al Sharpton has been shut down in at least one jurisdiction for failure to pay taxes.

Now, a logical question that has been asked by more than one commentator–“How does he get away with all of this?”

Well, the answer for at least a large portion of the known tax issues went up in smoke, actually, twice in what can only be described as very mysterious circumstances.

The first took place in April, 1997, just days ahead of tax day, and while Sharpton was running for mayor. Well, that was probably just a coincidence, right?

As the mayoral campaign continued, Sharpton missed tax and campaign disclosure deadlines. The 1997 fire occurred five days before Tax Day and, the New York Post reported, “just after Sharpton announced that he would open his financial records.” After the fire, Sharpton said he would seek an extension because crucial financial records had been destroyed. It’s unclear whether that extension was granted. In July 1997, Sharpton also missed the deadline to file his personal financial-disclosure forms with the New York City Conflict of Interests Board, violating a legal requirement and risking a fine of up to $10,000. He said the destruction of records in the fire had prevented him from filing. When Sharpton finally filed a year later, in July 1998 — months after the November 4, 1997 elections — he paid a $100 late fee.

The second fire took place on Jan. 23, 2003 — one day after Sharpton filed paperwork to create a presidential exploratory committee. Also coincidentally destroyed by the fire? A myriad of financial information…

Frank Mercado-Valdes, a former adviser on business matters to Sharpton had this to say in regards to Sharpton’s financial acuity:

“Carelessness was his hallmark,” Mercado-Valdes says. Was it worse than that? “Carelessness, yes. Complete disregard for the little laws? Yes, some powerful people are like that. . . . [Sharpton] was someone who, because of the nature of his organization, just between his nonprofit and his for-profits and his personal life, just had a very ad-hoc approach to organization. One of the reasons the IRS investigations always end up with no indictments is because they always start out with the same false premise: “This guy’s a crook, look, he’s operating like a crook, he’s got all these companies, he’s moving money, shelling back and forth,” because it looks like what a crook would do. Except that when you get in there, you realize what a dumb crook this is. He moves all this money around, and he ends up owing more money than he made. You don’t have to believe everything he says, but as a financial “crook,” he does not aggregate “stolen” money well.

Maybe Sharpton’s sins could be forgiven, whether they’re the result of maliciously criminal behavior or simply extremely horrible financial mismanagement, except for this:

Al Sharpton demands the best when he speaks at public colleges. When he speaks at public colleges and universities, Al Sharpton flies first-class, stays in upscale hotels, travels to events in a chauffeured vehicle, and often brings a bodyguard or aide with him. He makes these demands on taxpayer-funded institutions, despite owing as much as $4.5 million in unpaid taxes and penalties.


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