Monday, April 7, 2014









(Monday April 7, 2014 NY, NY)  The headlines were too outlandish, so far from reality that they had to be pranks.  Had they appeared as satirical pieces on April 1st, April Fool’s Day, they would have been seen as very clever and extremely funny.  The Reverend Al Sharpton in bed with the Italian Mafia back in the 1980’s!?!  But today is not April Fool’s Day and the story as reported below those stunning headlines is truly one of the oddest about the oddest of bedfellows in New York City’s recent memory and that is saying a mouthful.

One must turn back the clock to early 1980’s New York City, a City that bears little semblance to the City of today. Quality of life issues were considered as too small to handle while the NYPD was fighting crime levels of incredible proportions.  Companies and businesses were fleeing, tourism was almost nonexistent and the evaporating tax base left the City in a perpetual state of debt.  Thanks to the federal government cuts in spending on state run mental health facilities as mandated by the addle-minded Ronald Reagan as of 1983 we had an estimated 400,000 homeless men, women and children living on the streets, in the parks, in subway trains and stations.  New York City held that most ignominious distinction for having the highest crime rates in all major categories, including murder, as reported by the Justice Department. We were a City on the edge, on the threshold of a downward spiral that it would likely take decades to return to from  Since those dark days the transformation of New York City has been as remarkable as the personal transformation of Al Sharpton himself.

Those were not good times in our City’s history and Mayor David Dinkins' ineptitude on every front was epic.  He appeared as if he didn’t know if he was coming or going but he would, thankfully be a “one and done” Mayor.  The City couldn’t take much more of Dinkins’ inadequacies.

Back in those days a bombastic, clownish, character as only NYC can produce began making noise and hasn’t really stopped ever since. The Reverend Al Sharpton suddenly appeared on the scene: an obese, obnoxious, tracksuit wearing agitator with a garish Jerri-curled permanent wave worn as a thick mane that fell over his shoulders.  He was a self-described “civil rights leader”, a “community activist”, an “ordained minister” who appeared to the majority of New Yorker’s as nothing more than an attention seeking instigator who profited by exploiting those he referred to as “my people”.  At every flare-up or even any mildly controversial episode with racial overtones that sprang up, it wouldn’t be long until the buffoonish rabble-rousing Reverend Al would be on TV as he claimed be there at their bequest  of those "victimized" to offer comfort and support.

He really caught the national spotlight as the personal spiritual adviser for any African American in New York City who got caught up in a controversial Police action, any hint of “his people” being underserved could trigger one of his infamous “days of outrage” when he and some of his most vocal followers would pick a busy subway station or intersection on the streets and basically shut it down like a college sit-in back in the 1960’s.  But this was not the 1960’s and the “protesters” were not expressing their displeasure with the military draft and the unpopular war in Viet Nam.  No, these were people revved up into a frenzy beyond all proportions to whatever the real or contrived initiating event may have been.

What Al Sharpton’s good friend and close ally, Don King was to the world of legitimate prize fighting, The Reverend Al was to legitimate preaching.  He never had a congregation, a home church or a flock he tended to spiritually.  Sharpton was only interested in making as much noise by drawing attention to himself and his never ending litany of crimes and misdemeanors perpetrated “on” his people by the Cops, Jewish landlords, Jewish shop keepers, Hassidic Jews, Korean green grocers, Armenian street vendors, White people in general, Sheikh taxi drivers, Chinese take-out proprietors and the rest of the City “Establishment”.

Perhaps his most prominent act was when he rushed to the side of a young 15 year old African American girl from a suburb north of New York City, Tawana Brawley, who claimed to have been tortured and raped by a gang of six white men. While the country was outraged by the allegations this girl made and the condition in which she was found after missing from her home for four days drew national outrage.  Apparently she was smeared with feces and had words written on her body with a substance that might have been charcoal.  Long story short, Reverend Al was with Tawana and the entire Brawley clan until the whole case imploded and it was revealed to be nothing but an elaborate hoax by Tawana Brawley herself.  Reverend Al with some high priced lawyers in tow quietly slithered back to Brooklyn not embarrassed or humiliated but more angry than ever.  He would spend the next decade of his life making some changes virtually all of them cosmetic and superficial. 


The facts as reported thus far and Sharpton’s arguments to cast them in an entirely different light have been more than amusing to observe, they have defied even the most numb-skulled among us to understand.  Never at a loss for words or to confuse and muddle a topic or direct question, Reverend Al is doing exactly what he has accused so many other public officials, elected leaders and the media of doing; that is, using the tried and true techniques of verbal gymnastics. Only a lifelong con man, scam artist and serial bloviator could turn his being a mob informant into his contention that he was merely helping to fight crime.  His hands were dirty far before he got nailed by the FBI while involved in plotting a drug deal of a sort.  Realizing he was in deep shit, Sharpton turned rat and there is no other way to say that despite what Al proclaims all these years later.  He became a confidential informant to save his own lard ass from doing real time in a real prison; not an overnight stay at some Precinct holding cell after a symbolic arrest at one of his on-going series of protests and “day of outrage” antics.

In many ways Sharpton was an ideal informant.  He had ties to the corrupt, convicted felon boxing promoter Don King and was also working with some aspiring young “Rap” artists with music producers of questionable repute.  This was how Al made his money; the position of self-declared community activist and civil right leader does not come with a salary.  Sharpton’s association with a cast of dubious characters, some simply flat out, hard core felons and his own sense of importance and ego allowed him to play any role the moment demanded of him.  From chameleon champion of the poor and down-trodden to FBI secret agent, Reverend Al would play his part as directed. 

Perhaps it is necessary to reset the illicit drug trade stage circa 1980.  The Five Families had an iron fisted grip on all the heroin and cocaine coming into America.  Way down the food chain in the drug trade, where it’s all “hand to hand” scraggly addicts coping from petty street dealers, the Italians used African Americans as middlemen; they would sell to them in bulk , get paid for the product and allow the street hierarchy to function as it would.  The Italians wanted no part of the nitty gritty end of the drug game:  too sloppy, too tawdry, way too close to the gutter for them.  But one man distinguished himself and thrived by having his own independent sources for raw heroin originating in Viet Nam; that man was Nicky Barnes.  He had no need or use for the Italians and he let them know it.  They looked down on him but had some degree of respect in that he strictly abided by the code of the streets and that, to old school Italians and Sicilians meant something in those days.

Once the NYPD brought down the notorious heroin distribution operation of Nicky Barnes in the late 1970’s to early 1980’s, there was suddenly a power vacuum in the drug trade open to all comers provided they had the relationships with and consent of certain members of the Five Families, a coalition of Italian organized crime groups known as “The Mafia”, in particular, a certain Capo in the Genovese Family, they could keep Barnes former network thriving while the Italians pulled the puppet strings from behind heavy concealing curtains.  The hypocrisy implicit in this story is that while Reverend Al was preaching about the perils of drug use and how it was destroying African American communities at the same time he was, at least tangentially, prospering from that very same ill legal enterprise.  He ridiculed, mocked, scorned and all but declared war on those in the illicit drug business for “polluting our youth” and that all the drugs dealt in the African American community were brought in by some anonymous groups of “others”; after all, inner city Blacks didn’t have access to the global high-stakes drug trade.  But, little did anyone know Reverend Al had a taste of the action.  It was at this time that a small group of African American Congress Members, Activists and “Scholars” began the urban myth that our federal government as in the CIA and FBI introduced illicit drugs into the African American communities to “keep them impoverished”, “get them addicted” and otherwise as a means to dispense with what those who floated these outrageous claims, said was to “control” them.  Sharpton on many occasions in the 1980’s sung that tune as well.  The only part of his song missing from his public pontificating and saber rattling were the choruses of him singing with Italian mobsters.

Reverend Al can twist words and phrases so far beyond their true meaning that he is not even worth listening to or reading about.  What is fascinating is the case laid out about him as brilliantly reported in an in depth, detailed, highly corroborated expose on The Smoking Gun web site.  The sources for the material released thus far are of the highest credibility.  No one involved in the underworld nexus where the drug trade and the Italian Mafia crossed in those days had any idea that the day would come when a Freedom of Information Act request could and often would declassify and generally release long held “secret documents”.  Reverend Al ought to be waiting for the next shoe to drop because, as is usually inevitable in such circumstances, more will be revealed.  As more information from those days, the days of the famous “Mob and Mafia Trials” were conducted under the leadership of the Federal Prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, a tough lawyer with a bad comb-over, Rudy Giuliani, was just making a name for himself while systematically going after Italian mobsters, there is a virtual treasure trove of information to be discovered in the archives.  Reverend Al was not likely a one-time petty player; it has already been rumored among people safely ensconced in high positions in the Federal Court here in Manhattan, that there is much more about Sharpton’s associations with, business dealings for, and two-timing as a  rat on the payroll of the NYPD/ FBI Joint Organized Crime Task Force payroll.


For all his asinine obfuscation, the strident cadence and vociferous denials of any wrong doing or of being a rat, The Reverend might want to say a few extra prayers and hire an extra body guard or two.  Revelations like this, even when they are related to events that transpired 30 or 40 years ago do not go unpunished by Italians; mobsters or not, Italians might at times forgive but never forget.  Italian’s have the vendetta gene, a mindset that doesn’t allow for revenge because revenge can take too long.  Scores must be settled and settled as quickly and quietly as possible.  And that is how it should be.

Sharpton has most certainly cleaned up his act.  He’s lost a few hundred pounds, traded his Reebok track suits for garish pin-striped suits and silk ties.  He has become much better educated on a wide range of issues and was actually a Democratic presidential contender during the primary season in 2004.  He had a radio show and now has an hour long program every weeknight on the left-winged cable network MSNBC.  He hob knobs with the President, important movers and shakers in Washington, DC and has made a fortune as a professional “Black”; his earning have historically come from his playing his public role as a “Black Advocate” whatever the hell that entails.  Now,  that he is legit, has published a book and gets hefty sums for speaking engagements he might have forgotten or lost sight of those days when he was a fat, loud-mouthed, race-baiting instigator with no sense of comportment or civil discourse.

But, one might make a small, safe wager that there is some small handful of Italians still alive and not incarcerated who remember those meeting in Brooklyn with the Reverend.  He may have forgotten his dealings with those men way back when but, rest assured, they haven’t and, he must now also be concerned with the Law.  What exactly was his role between Don King, violence, drugs, money laundering, rap artists, music producers and the entire cast of characters that made a cartoonish character into a semi-pro player?

Maybe you have to be from a place like The Bronx or Brooklyn to imagine the possibilities.

Al Sharpton – Mob Rat…just had to mention that one more time.

 Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2014 © All Rights Reserved

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