Tags: Barack Obama | Al Sharpton | party | National Action Network | fundraiser

Sharpton's Bash Helps Pay Debts of Civil Rights Group

Image: Sharpton's Bash Helps Pay Debts of Civil Rights Group
The Rev. Al Sharpton. (Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 03 Oct 2014 11:05 AM

The Rev. Al Sharpton threw a huge, star-studded birthday bash Wednesday night at New York's Four Seasons, and raised $1 million to help pay off the tax and other debts of his civil rights group, the National Action Network (NAN).

In August, the New York Post reported that Sharpton's group owed $4.7 million in unpaid back taxes, debts and leins as of its 2012 tax report.

New York's Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York's Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio and some of America's largest corporations partied with the fiery, controversial civil rights activist, the New York Post reported.

Much of the money has been paid back, Sharpton says, but the Post reported that NAN, which Sharpton calls a "Christian activist organization," still owed $1.1 million, and was in debt to the IRS for $813,576.

Billed as a "Party for the Cause," the birthday bash charged $1,500 for a "medallion" listing in its glossy program, $2,500 for a "tracksuit" entry and a whopping $25,000 for those who wanted "preacher" standing, and Debra Lee, CEO of BET, Ron Perelman, Michelle Ebanks, CEO of Essence Communications, GE Asset Management and Walmart became "preachers" for the night, the Post reported.

Companies and groups such as AT&T, Verizon, the American Federation of Teachers, the Humane Society and McDonald's all picked up program ads.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., director Spike Lee and MSNBC President Phil Griffin were expected to attend.

Sharpton noted that proceeds from the party, along with President Obama's appearances at NAN's fundraising national conventions, have helped to save the debt-ridden group.

"We have no new liens," Sharpton told the Post. "We’ll be operating in the black this year. The biggest debts have already settled, and the party [Wednesday night] was the second big fundraiser.

"The bigger fundraiser was my convention where President Obama spoke."

Sharpton has come under fire for his recent claims that NAN was "engaged in immediate conversations" with the White House to help choose a replacement for outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, the Business Insider reported.

However, later on, Sharpton revised his statement, telling the Business Insider, "We did not say we are in the decision making. We are in conversation to reach out to them to have meetings about what we want to see in a successor."

In the event program, Rolling Stone Mick Jagger wrote an open letter to Sharpton, saying, "The work you have done throughout your life is thoroughly admirable. Congratulations on all that you achieved," and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote, "You're truly a unique American voice. A voice that has matured a great deal without mellowing one bit. And your best days are still ahead."

Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, Linda Johnson Rice, publisher of Ebony Magazine and the Rev. Jesse Jackson also wrote testimonials.

A second birthday celebration was planned for the next night at the First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, featuring famed gospel singers Yolanda Adams and Marvin Sapp, flown in for the event by NAN, the Post reported.

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The Rev. Al Sharpton threw a huge, star-studded birthday bash Wednesday night at New York's Four Seasons, and raised $1 million to help pay off the tax and other debts of his civil rights group, the National Action Network.
Al Sharpton, party, National Action Network, fundraiser
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2014-05-03
Friday, 03 Oct 2014 11:05 AM
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