Al Sharpton, landlord, fighting for rent, National Action Network lease

Civil rights activist Al Sharpton is locked in a nasty row with his landlord over the Harlem building that houses his headquarters for the National Action Network, The Post has learned.

The lessor/developer — Lenox By the Bridge LLC — has served on Sharpton and NAN a legal notice regarding rent payments and the lease for the building occupied by the Social Justice Organization at 145th Street near Lenox Avenue, sources said .

“We are working with NAN and Rev. Sharpton to resolve any issues that we need to address and will have no further comment,” Christopher Cobb, Lenox By the Bridge’s attorney, told The Post.

Sharpton insisted NAN be paid for its rent and said the dispute involves talks over whether the organization will renew the lease – and how much it will charge per square foot – or move elsewhere.

“It’s about extending the lease. We don’t owe anyone rent,” he told the Post.

“I’m not aware of that at all. If there’s any sort of separation, I’m not even aware of it.”

He said NAN, which struggled with deficits years ago, is now in the black.

The charitable organization’s most recent 990 tax exemption report, filed with the IRS for calendar year 2020 earlier this year, showed it had $3.8 million in available cash.

An exterior view of the National Action Network headquarters.
Sharpton insisted that NAN pay his rent for the Harlem headquarters.
Kevin C Downs

NAN’s attorney, Michael Hardy, later confirmed that NAN “was served a notice” by the landlord over complaints, which he declined to specify.

He said lawyers from both sides would meet to resolve the dispute in a “professional manner.”

Relations between Sharpton and Lenox By the Bridge – whose partnership includes businessman Bruce Teitelbaum, who served as a top adviser to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani – soured after a proposed redevelopment project the landlord had proposed for the site amid Political and community opposition stalled, sources said.

The project included a civil rights museum requested by Sharpton, which would have been built above NAN’s new offices – whose existing premises were to be leveled – in one of the two new towers being built on the site.

Francesca Beale and Bruce Teitelbaum visit Black Truffles, Blue Jeans, Burgundy & Blues.
Bruce Teitelbaum, right, pictured with Francesca Beale has a partnership with Lenox By the Bridge.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

But the deal fell due to opposition that the project did not include enough affordable or subsidized housing for the area. Sharpton, seeing the opposition, also backed down, sources said.

Opponents of the project included local Harlem City Councilwoman socialist Kristin Richardson Jordan, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, and Community Board 10.

A longtime Sharpton employee said relations between the preacher and the developer were strained.

“They don’t understand each other. The landlord was not friendly to the National Action Network,” the Sharpton employee claimed.

Street view of the National Action Network.
The landlord has “served a notice” to NAN for complaints he didn’t want to disclose.
Kevin C Downs

“It’s a disappointment that the project fell apart. Sharpton was looking forward to his museum opening and it didn’t happen.”

Sharpton himself suggested that any complaints with the landlord were related to his failed redevelopment project.

Another source familiar with the dispute said a battle with Sharpton will not help Lenox By the Bridge garner the necessary support to revive its development project.

“Bruce and the project need all the relevant stakeholder relationships needed to get this across the finish line: the council member, the city council spokesman [Adrienne Adams], Rev. Al and the community. But one project where you don’t get any of this is DOA,” the source said. Al Sharpton, landlord, fighting for rent, National Action Network lease


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