DOCUMENT: Celebrity

Sharpton: Hardest Working Man In Show Business?

TV host takes hefty salary from his civil rights group

Al Sharpton

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Al Sharpton's Money

FEBRUARY 22--Rev. Al Sharpton, who met yesterday with President Barack Obama to discuss the nation’s sputtering economy, is paying himself nearly $250,000 annually as the 40-hour-a-week head of a “Christian activist organization”--all while he is holding down another full-time job as host of a nightly MSNBC show.

In addition to his cable TV gig, Sharpton, 58, serves as “President & CEO” of the not-for-profit National Action Network, a Harlem-based group that seeks to “promote a modern civil rights agenda” and “the improvement of race relations.”

According to the organization’s 2011 tax return--which was signed by Sharpton and filed three months ago--the controversial minister was paid $241,402 for a work week that averages 40 hours. Prior Internal Revenut Service returns show that Sharpton was paid $241,732 in 2010 and $250,000 in 2009 (both years he reported working 40-hour weeks).

The return also notes that the group still owes Sharpton a balance of $111,223 on loans he previously provided it “due to deficits.” The loans, which originally totaled about $200,000, were provided by two Sharpton companies, Sharpton Media, LLC and Bo-Spanky Consulting.

Bo-Spanky, listed as “inactive” in New York Department of State records, was dissolved last year by government officials for failure to file taxes and/or annual reports. Sharpton Media Group, which was incorporated in Delaware, remains active and, according to state records, lists its address as a 43rd floor apartment in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.

Since mid-2011, Sharpton has hosted MSNBC’s “Politics Nation,” a one-hour program that follows “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” While Sharpton’s MSNBC salary has not been revealed, it seems likely that he banks a second hefty six-figure sum (that would exceed his haul from the National Action Network).

Sharpton was one of nine African-American leaders who met yesterday with Obama to “continue their dialogue on his plan to strengthen the economy for the middle class and continue to build ladders of opportunity for those striving to get there,” according to a White House statement. As seen at left, Sharpton was seated across from Obama at a table in the Roosevelt Room.

It is unclear what advice, if any, Sharpton offered the president about the nation’s wobbly finances. Of course, a review of the civil rights activist’s tawdry financial history--overflowing with tax liens, unpaid bills, and a criminal conviction for failing to file a personal tax return--would presumably render any counsel suspect.

The National Action Network’s 2011 tax return reports $4.2 million in gifts and contributions with net revenue nearing $200,000. But the group still remains $1.1 million in the hole, primarily due to unpaid federal payroll taxes (and related penalties and interest).

An auditor’s report notes that Sharpton’s group “has been in the process of negotiating an offer in compromise to settle” its IRS tab. “The Organization feels that the likelihood of a favorable outcome is highly likely,” concludes the auditor. (3 pages)