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

Civil rights activist Al Sharpton is locked in a nasty dispute with his landlord over the Harlem building where his National Action Network headquarters are located, The Post has learned.

The landlord/developer — Lenox By the Bridge LLC — has served a legal notice on Sharpton and NAN over rental payments and the lease at 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 whatever issues we need to address and will have no further comment,” Christopher Cobb, the lawyer for Lenox By the Bridge, told The Post.

Sharpton insisted that NAN is paid up on its rent and said the spat involves talks over whether the organization will renew the lease — and how much will be charged per square foot — or move elsewhere.

“It’s about the extension of the lease. We don’t owe rent to anybody,” he told The Post.

“I’m not aware of this at all. If there is some kind of disconnect, I’m not aware of it at all.”

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

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

An outside view of The National Action Network headquarters.
Sharpton insisted that NAN is paid up on its rent for the Harlem headquarters.
Kevin C. Downs

NAN’s lawyer, Michael Hardy, later confirmed a “notice has been served” against NAN by the landlord over grievances he declined to specify.

He said lawyers for both sides are meeting 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 aide to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani — soured after a planned redevelopment project the landlord proposed for the location stalled amid political and community opposition, sources said.

The project included a civil rights museum Sharpton wanted that would have been built above new offices occupied by NAN — whose existing space was going to be bulldozed — in one of the two new towers erected at the site.

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

But the deal fell through amid opposition that the project didn’t include enough affordable or subsidized housing for the area. Sharpton, seeing the opposition, also backed away, sources said.

Among those opposed to the project included the local Harlem councilwoman, socialist Kristin Richardson Jordan, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and Community Board 10.

A longtime Sharpton associate said relations between the preacher and the landlord-developer are strained.

“They don’t get along. The landlord has not been kind to the National Action Network,” the Sharpton associate claimed.

Street view of National Action Network.
A “notice has been served” against NAN by the landlord over grievances he declined to specify.
Kevin C. Downs

“There’s disappointment that the project fell apart. Sharpton was looking forward to his museum opening and it didn’t come through.”

Sharpton himself suggested that any gripes with the landlord are tied to its failed re-development project. 

Another source familiar with the dispute said picking a fight with Sharpton is not going to help Lenox By the Bridge win the support necessary to revive its development project. 

“Bruce and the project needs every and all relevant relationships with stakeholders required to get this over the finish line: The councilmember, the city council speaker [Adrienne Adams], Rev. Al and the community. But a project where you have none of that is DOA,” the source said.

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