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14 of Al Sharpton's Biggest Missteps, Controversies, Gaffes, and Goofs

14 of Al Sharpton's Biggest Missteps, Controversies, Gaffes, and Goofs
(Andrew Burton/Getty Images, file)

By    |   Friday, 30 January 2015 05:39 PM

The Rev. Al Sharpton's name keeps popping up in the media — often for the wrong reasons.

The latest negative report about the rabble-rousing civil rights leader discloses that Sharpton's nonprofit group is deeply in the red and has a rising tax debt.

Sharpton's National Action Network's (NAN) federal tax liability rose in 2013 to about $820,000, according to a new report from The Smoking Gun.

NAN took in $4.9 million in gross receipts primarily from corporate sponsors that year, while its total expenses were $5.2 million, leaving a sizeable deficit, The Smoking Gun also disclosed.

Last November, The New York Times reported that the MSNBC host "has regularly sidestepped the sort of obligations most people see as inevitable, like taxes, rent, and other bills."

The Times also noted that NAN "appears to have been sustained for years by not paying federal payroll taxes on its employees."

There have been plenty of other reports highlighting missteps by Sharpton over the years:

1. A retired NYPD detective charged that Sharpton was ultimately responsible for the deaths of two officers.

After the July 2014 death of Eric Garner on Staten Island at the hands of New York City police, Sharpton organized a protest and condemned an officer's use of a chokehold on Garner. Sharpton also protested loudly when a grand jury decided on Dec. 3 not to hand down an indictment in the case.

About two weeks later, a man with a long criminal record shot and killed two officers in a police bar in Brooklyn. The killer had suggested on social media that he was avenging the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, who was killed by police in Ferguson, Mo.

Sharpton is "somehow responsible for the death of these two officers," retired Det. Harry Houck declared. "Two officers have been executed as a result of his rhetoric. Now he's got two more bodies based on his rhetoric."

He also stated that Sharpton "went into Ferguson and caused all the problems there and as soon as the riots started he backed off."

2. In one of his earliest missteps, Sharpton accused upstate New York prosecutor Steven Pagones of being part of a group of white men who raped teenager Tawana Brawly in 1987. A grand jury found "overwhelming evidence" that the rape allegation had been fabricated. Pagones sued Sharpton for defamation and won a judgment of $65,000. Sharpton reportedly paid off the judgment with money raised by his supporters.

3. After a car in a Hasidic rabbi's motorcade killed a 7-year-old boy in Brooklyn in 1991, Sharpton referred to the Hasidic Jews as "diamond merchants" and said "if the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house." Shortly after, an innocent Hasidic Jewish student visiting the area from Australia was set upon by a mob and stabbed to death.

4. In 1995 an African-American Pentecostal church in Harlem, New York, asked a Jewish tenant of one of its properties — Freddie's Fashion Mart — to evict a black-run record store that was subletting part of the property. Sharpton showed up outside Freddie's vowing to a crowd: "We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business."

Two weeks before Christmas, a man who had been in the crowd shot several Freddie's customers and then set the building on fire, killing seven employees. Sharpton subsequently apologized for his "white interloper" remark, but vehemently denied responsibility for the violence.

5. In 1990, Sharpton was accused of stealing $250,000 from his youth gracquitted of felony charges that he stole $250,000 from his youth group.

6. In 1993, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for failing to file a state income tax return.

7. State law bars nonprofits from making loans to officers, but Sharpton admitted that NAN had once loaned him money to cover his daughters' tuition.

8. Sharpton was jailed for 90 days in 2001 on trespassing charges stemming from his protest against U.S. military target practice exercises in Puerto Rico.

9. Sharpton has frequently sparked controversy with his strident language. During a rally in Brooklyn, he called white people "crackers."

10. Speaking at a college in 1994, Sharpton referred to gay men as "homos."

11. When Mitt Romney, a Mormon, was running for president in 2007, Sharpton said: "As for the Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyway."

12. Sharpton worked as a government informant. In 2002, HBO aired a 19-year-old FBI videotape of an undercover sting operation showing Sharpton with an FBI agent posing as a Latin American businessman and a reputed Columbo crime family captain.

Sharpton said in 1988 that he informed for the government in order to stem the flow of crack cocaine into black neighborhoods, although he The Smoking Gun alleged that he was paid to be an informant.

13. In December 2005, Sharpton agreed to repay $100,000 in public funds he received for his 2004 presidential campaign because he had exceeded federal limits on personal expenditures for his campaign.

14. In 2005, Sharpton appeared in three TV commercials for LoanMax, an automobile title loan firm that reportedly charged fees that were the equivalent of 300 percent APR loans.

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The Rev. Al Sharpton's name keeps popping up in the media - often for the wrong reasons. Here are some of his biggest missteps and controversies.
14, al sharpton, biggest, missteps, controversies
Friday, 30 January 2015 05:39 PM
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