It’s a biblical principle: You reap what you sow. When you don’t pay your taxes, the government will eventually get you. In a case in point, the Reverend Al Sharpton, whose tax problems have been in the news for a while, is reaping the effects.
The National Review Online has conducted a review of public records in New York and Delaware. The results show that every business started by Al Sharpton has closed by the government in at least one jurisdiction for failure to pay their taxes. The Review describe Sharpton’s business records as:
…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.
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, stated:
He clearly appears — based on the information that’s available to us — to have a history of noncompliance with tax obligations. 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’s first company was Raw Talent. It accumulated significant tax debt and eventually dissolved in 2002 for failure to pay. His second company, Revel Communications, was founded in 1999. It failed to pay taxes or failed to file every year from 1999 to 2002.
His third company was Sharpton Media Group. A spokeswoman Sharpton’s National Action Network, his non-profit, stated that Sharpton Media Group closed its doors after a tax settlement. Yet another company, Bo Spanky, dissolved due to failure to pay a tax debt.
Frank Mercado-Valdes, who says he advised Sharpton on business matters, says Sharpton has never been savvy about money. He believes Sharpton’s tax problems are a product of incompetence:
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.
Whether Sharpton’s extensive tax problems are a result of malicious wrongdoing or simply ineptitude, the man is clearly out of his depth in business. His integrity is also questionable.