OTR Interviews

Rev. Al Sharpton: In Obama's ear and alleged serial tax cheat

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 2, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Reverend Al Sharpton, a cable news host and activist and advisor to President Obama and now reports he is a serial tax cheat. A new report showing that every single for profit enterprise started by Reverend Sharpton has been shut down for failing to pay taxes. Yes, you have heard that right -- every single one.

And the latest bombshell coming just months after the New York Times added Sharpton for owing millions in personal taxes. The National Review's Jillian Melchior joins us. Jillian, I read your article today. Tell me what did does your research show?

JILLIAN MELCHIOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: Yeah. Al Sharpton has a bunch of for profit entities that have opened up one after the other. All of them shut down for failure to pay taxes, failure to file tax paperwork, some combination of tax problems. Just one right after another and then they will open back up, sometimes in the same location. I just really see a pattern here.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know a lot of people get into tax trouble. That's not so unusual. The thing that sort of rubbing me the wrong way personally from the New York Times report that I read is that it doesn't look like the IRS has him on a payment plan, trying to work it out so he can get straight with the American people. This is really a debt to the American people, not to the IRS. In looking at the businesses, is there any indication that they were making efforts to sort of work out a plan or program to get, you know, on the straight with the IRS, the American people.

MELCHIOR: Sure, for his profit and nonprofit company there was actually a tax settlement reached. I think the problem is we don't know the details as taxpayers. We don't know whether he got a discount deal. We don't know whether he is compliant with paying for them. The IRS won't tell you. They say this is a private taxpayer and need to respect the privacy, but for me, as a taxpayer, and I think for a lot of other taxpayers, that's frustrating because here you have got the New York Times saying cumulatively $4.5 million in tax debt. I'm looking at active tax warrants, tax liens well over a million dollars. You know, I wonder what's going on.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you reached out to Reverend Sharpton or any of his organizations to see if there is an innocent explanation for all of this?

MELCHIOR: Yeah, I did, actually. I talked about his nonprofit and actually interviewed him. He says he has worked out a payment plan wouldn't tell me a single detail about it, wouldn't tell me where he is at, and wouldn't estimate his tax debt right now. So I think there is no transparency. And that's specially concerning given his nonprofit.

VAN SUSTEREN: So what does he have now in terms of -- what is he responsible for in terms of the profit or nonprofit field? What corporations or organizations?

MELCHIOR: Well, as far as can I tell and it's kind of tricky to tell just depending which state has what transparency about corporate records, but the nonprofit, when you look at tax records, more than a million dollars in the red. If I am remembering right, I think $800,000 in tax debt and has worked out a settlement for his for profit entities, several of them still owe taxes, have active tax warrants. Then he has one company that was actually shuttered in Delaware for failure to file taxes was supposed to shut down in New York, never shut down.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I'm sure that he thinks it is just Fox News going after him as a competitor. I just want to point out this was the New York Times who wrote the first one. Now, you have broken the most recent one about his business. But this is a New York Times, this is a debt to the American people. This is also a guy who seems to have special treatment going in and out of the White House which I must add we pay the electric bill for. So it's a little bit disconcerting. The IRS, they act like they are concerned about it and all trying to collect this money?

MELCHIOR: You know, it's really hard to tell. I mean, he is a politically connected guy. For me, the question is what's going on here? This is a public figure, he is a respected guy. Yet, when I look at his finances I know they are a mess. I don't know whether it's incompetence. I can't tell from the records whether its sloppiness or maybe it's something criminal. You just don't know.

VAN SUSTEREN: He was in and out of the White House 80 times according to our latest number, but anyway, Jillian, thank you.

MELCHIOR: Thank you.