Sharpton’s tax records destroyed by fire twice!
For years we have reported that Sharpton’s tax records once burned up in a suspicious fire. It turns out, his tax records have burned up in suspicious fires twice!
As Al Sharpton ran for mayor of New York City in 1997 and for president in 2003, fires at his offices reportedly destroyed critical financial records, and he subsequently failed to comply with tax and campaign filing requirements.
The first fire began in the early hours of April 10, 1997, in a hair-and-nail salon one floor below Sharpton’s campaign headquarters at 70 West 125th Street. From the start, investigators deemed the fire “suspicious” because of “a heavy volume of fire on arrival” and because many of the doors remained unlocked after hours, according to the New York Fire Department’s fire-and-incident report.
As the fire crept upward into Sharpton’s headquarters, it destroyed nearly everything, including computers, files, and campaign records, the Reverend’s spokesperson at the time told Newsday, adding that “we have lost our entire Manhattan operation.” But a source knowledgeable about the investigation tells National Review Online that Sharpton’s office was mostly empty, and that the damage was not extensive.
Top city officials, including then-mayor Rudy Giuliani, said initial suspicions centered on the hair-and-nail salon, not on Sharpton’s campaign, Newsday reported. The fire department sent the case as an arson/explosion investigation to the New York Police Department. By the time of publication of this report, the NYPD had not provided the records requested by National Review Online on December 16, 2014, but it confirmed that the investigation had been closed without an arrest.
Six years later, on January 23, 2003 — one day after Sharpton filed paperwork to create a presidential exploratory committee — another fire caused heavy damage at National Action Network, located at 1941 Madison Avenue. (The Federal Election Commission (FEC) later determined that Sharpton had actually become a candidate no later than October 2002, although, contrary to law, he had not filed his statement of candidacy until April 2003.)
The battalion chief who responded to the fire initially coded it as suspicious. On the fire-and-incident report, the cause of fire is designated as “NFA [Not Fully Ascertained] — Heat from electrical equipment (Extension Cords).” But by the evening of January 24, the chief fire marshal told the New York Times that “both an eyewitness account and a physical examination by fire marshals point to the cause as accidental.”
Nevertheless, significant oddities surrounded both the fire and the investigation, and the story of the key eyewitness had some holes that were apparently never addressed.