Every Sharpton business known has been dissolved for failure to comply with tax rules.

[Rev. Al] Sharpton now makes a substantial income from MSNBC and his radio show, but before that, his ritzy lifestyle was subsidized by wealthy black supporters, says Mercado-Valdes. A donor covered the cost of Sharpton’s upscale Helmsley-Carlton apartment in Manhattan, he says. Donors also covered the cost of the “whopping bill” from the hospital when Sharpton was stabbed at a protest rally, one source tells me — the reverend didn’t even have health insurance.

Mercado-Valdes says he recalls buying the reverend a bespoke suit in the ’90s through his company, African Heritage Network, because “through his advocacy, direct or indirect, he generated millions for our company and companies like ours.”

“He got a lot of those suits back then,” Mercado-Valdes says.

"The tailor would market them for promotional purposes, and a lot of the times, they were then donated to Sharpton. When it comes to money, he loves his new suits, he loved his Rolex, which was given to him. He loved having a driver downstairs. Sharpton liked the trappings of power in that regard, but money was just not something he focused on, especially compared to his peers. As long as you gave Al a seat at the table with some nice silverware, called him “Rev,” treated him nice, he’d overlook all of your sins. If it’s good for Al Sharpton, then it’s good."

Mercado-Valdes adds that after Sharpton’s failed presidential run, he gained both a national audience and a more substantial income, so he has since been able to pay for more of his own luxuries.


Michael Benjamin