By Nina Schutzman Aug. 3, 2014, Poughkeepsie Journal
The Rev. Al Sharpton, along with his nonprofit National Action Network and two for-profit firms, have $4.7 million in outstanding debt and liens, according to federal and state tax records, the New York Post reported on Sunday.
Among the debts include $806,875 that Sharpton owes the state, along with $2.6 million in federal liens against him for unpaid personal income taxes, the Post stated.
Recent filings showed the National Action Network owed $813,576 to the federal government at the end of 2012, and his company Rev-Al Communications owes $447,826 to the state, while the Bo-Spanky Consulting firm has $18.21 in outstanding debt, according to the Post.
Sharpton told the Post he's paying down the debts according to negotiated agreements.
"It's significantly less. It's nowhere near the millions of dollars. We have totally lived up to our agreement with them," Sharpton the Post. "It's being paid down."
In 1987, the controversial preacher stood by then-15-year-old Wappingers Falls resident Tawana Brawley's side after she was found in a trash bag, covered in feces and racial slurs.
She claimed she was abducted and raped by a group of white men, among them Steven Pagones, who was a prosecutor with the Dutchess County's District Attorney's Office.
The fact that Sharpton is given any credibility is "despicable," Pagones said to the Poughkeepsie Journal on Sunday evening. "The guy has caused so many problems and so much racial tension in the past. I don't understand how people, politicians can afford him the credibility."
Lacking physical evidence or eyewitnesses, Sharpton repeatedly identified Pagones as Brawley's attacker, according to Journal archives. A specially impaneled grand jury, called by then-Gov. Mario Cuomo, determined Brawley's story was phony.
That case brought national media attention and racial tension to Dutchess County.
Pagones sued Brawley, Sharpton and others for defamation in 1998.
The jury awarded Pagones $345,000, including $65,000 from Sharpton for making seven defamatory statements. The reverend's friends and supporters like lawyer Johnnie Cochran Jr. and businessman Percy Sutton covered the debt.