Jackson Asked Sharpton to Back Off in Burger King Dispute

Source Close to Jackson Says Sharpton Tried to Solicit Donation

From Burger Giant After Dispute Was Settled; Sharpton Denies It



Apr 01, 2001, 00:00 ET from Newsweek

    NEW YORK, April 1 /PRNewswire/ -- In a dispute involving minority-owned
 franchises for Burger King, Rev. Al Sharpton and his mentor, Rev. Jesse
 Jackson, are squaring off over the best way to solicit money from corporate
 America, Newsweek reports in the April 9 issue (on newsstands Monday, April
 2).  The dispute comes at an awkward time for Jackson, whose finances have
 been closely scrutinized since he disclosed that the mother of his
 illegitimate child received a generous payoff when she left one of his several
 organizations.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010331/HSSA009 )
     The recent spat revolves around a black entrepreneur named Le-Van Hawkins,
 who in 1996 made a deal to build more than 200 Burger Kings in inner-city
 neighborhoods around the country.  After some financial difficulties, he was
 unable to pay back a $4 million loan from Burger King.  When the fast food
 chain tried to collect, Hawkins sued, claiming racial discrimination and when
 a judge threw out the lawsuit, Sharpton came in, threatening to stage sit-ins
 on Hawkins' behalf.
     Investigative Correspondent Mark Hosenball and Assistant Managing Editor
 Evan Thomas report that Jackson himself wrote Sharpton, urging him to back
 off, explaining that he had been working with Burger King for almost 20 years
 and that black owners of their franchises would be harmed by the boycott.  A
 Burger King spokeswoman says that during that same period, the company made
 donations totaling "less than $500,000" to Jackson's empire.
     Sharpton says he was taken aback by Jackson's intervention.  "It is very
 difficult for me -- trained by Jesse Jackson to confront the corporate world
 -- to now go in those same corporate suites, and they use the guy that taught
 me as their protection," he said.  Sharpton, who says his organization "won't
 take donations from companies we fight," denies "suggesting anything
 scandalous" about Jackson, but Hosenball and Thomas write that he "clearly
 wished to leave the impression that Jackson is more interested in serving
 himself and his friends."
     The dispute between Hawkins and Burger King was quietly settled last
 December with a $57 million payment to Hawkins, a knowledgeable source says.
 Sharpton halted his protest, and a source close to Jackson claims that right
 after the settlement, Sharpton called Burger King to solicit a donation for
 his organization, The Madison Avenue Initiative.  Sharpton denies receiving
 any money from the burger chain and the company spokeswoman says there is no
 record of any payment to Sharpton or his organization.  And while Sharpton
 acknowledges that Hawkins is a long-time contributor to his causes, neither he
 nor a lawyer for Hawkins would be more specific about the amount of the
 donations.
 
                         Read Newsweek's news releases
             At http://www.Newsweek.MSNBC.com. Click "Pressroom.")
 
 
 

SOURCE Newsweek
    NEW YORK, April 1 /PRNewswire/ -- In a dispute involving minority-owned
 franchises for Burger King, Rev. Al Sharpton and his mentor, Rev. Jesse
 Jackson, are squaring off over the best way to solicit money from corporate
 America, Newsweek reports in the April 9 issue (on newsstands Monday, April
 2).  The dispute comes at an awkward time for Jackson, whose finances have
 been closely scrutinized since he disclosed that the mother of his
 illegitimate child received a generous payoff when she left one of his several
 organizations.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010331/HSSA009 )
     The recent spat revolves around a black entrepreneur named Le-Van Hawkins,
 who in 1996 made a deal to build more than 200 Burger Kings in inner-city
 neighborhoods around the country.  After some financial difficulties, he was
 unable to pay back a $4 million loan from Burger King.  When the fast food
 chain tried to collect, Hawkins sued, claiming racial discrimination and when
 a judge threw out the lawsuit, Sharpton came in, threatening to stage sit-ins
 on Hawkins' behalf.
     Investigative Correspondent Mark Hosenball and Assistant Managing Editor
 Evan Thomas report that Jackson himself wrote Sharpton, urging him to back
 off, explaining that he had been working with Burger King for almost 20 years
 and that black owners of their franchises would be harmed by the boycott.  A
 Burger King spokeswoman says that during that same period, the company made
 donations totaling "less than $500,000" to Jackson's empire.
     Sharpton says he was taken aback by Jackson's intervention.  "It is very
 difficult for me -- trained by Jesse Jackson to confront the corporate world
 -- to now go in those same corporate suites, and they use the guy that taught
 me as their protection," he said.  Sharpton, who says his organization "won't
 take donations from companies we fight," denies "suggesting anything
 scandalous" about Jackson, but Hosenball and Thomas write that he "clearly
 wished to leave the impression that Jackson is more interested in serving
 himself and his friends."
     The dispute between Hawkins and Burger King was quietly settled last
 December with a $57 million payment to Hawkins, a knowledgeable source says.
 Sharpton halted his protest, and a source close to Jackson claims that right
 after the settlement, Sharpton called Burger King to solicit a donation for
 his organization, The Madison Avenue Initiative.  Sharpton denies receiving
 any money from the burger chain and the company spokeswoman says there is no
 record of any payment to Sharpton or his organization.  And while Sharpton
 acknowledges that Hawkins is a long-time contributor to his causes, neither he
 nor a lawyer for Hawkins would be more specific about the amount of the
 donations.
 
                         Read Newsweek's news releases
             At http://www.Newsweek.MSNBC.com. Click "Pressroom.")
 
 
 SOURCE  Newsweek