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The National Action Network agreed to pay the activist preacher $531,000 for his “life story rights for a 10-year period,” according to the non-profit’s latest tax filing, which was obtained by The Post.
NAN can apparently turn around and sell those rights to Hollywood or other takers at a profit, but neither the reverend nor the charity would identify what producers are waiting for such Sharpton content.
Sharpton claimed the idea for the deal came from two NAN board members, whom he would not name. He said they wanted to create a source of revenue for the civil-rights organization after he steps down in about a year.
Nonprofit experts said the transaction could be troubling because NAN — whose mission includes criminal justice reform and police accountability — was doing business with its president.
If NAN paid too much it could run afoul of IRS rules regarding excess benefits given to a nonprofit’s key officials, which might put its tax-exempt status in jeopardy, Marcus Owens, a former IRS official and a partner with the Loeb & Loeb law firm in Washington, DC.
“When I see this kind of thing, it just makes me roll my eyes because there’s so much potential for funny business,” said Linda Sugin, a Fordham University Law School professor and associate dean. The organization’s tax filing noted that the board’s unnamed “executive committee independently approved” the deal. But Sugin questioned such how such independence was achieved. “In this case, it’s really difficult because of his role in the organization and just because of his overall influence,” she said.