On a New High, Sharpton Hits a New Low

TV's Democratic minister of 'moral values' takes a hypocritical plunge

Smikle's friend says the problems soon reappeared and that "Basil was never comfortable about the relationship between the Rev and Marjorie," convinced in fact that Sharpton "seemed to go out of his way to drive a wedge between them" and that "she never stopped him." They BlackBerried each other deep into the night. They traveled constantly together, always first class and at the most expensive hotels, reaching costs of $4,000 a night. "Black stretch limos with black drivers," conceded Harris snidely, were sent by Rubenstein "often" to the Harlem apartment to "take me wherever I needed to go," a perk that she simply attributed to him being "one of my lawyers."

Though she specifically refused to answer questions about her sudden surfeit of expensive accessories, Smikle noticed a $7,000 Rolex, mink coats, and David Yurman jewels appraised at $1,500 and $4,000. She bought a Caddy at Dick Gidron's Bronx dealership, where NAN did all its business and where the owner, a convicted felon, was one of the Rev's financial supporters, even paying off part of his personal debts. Telling the Voice last Friday that she was still making payments on the car and did not get a discount, she registered and insured it in New York under her own name, and sent it off to North Carolina for her mother. Sharpton was so close to her mother he called her every Sunday night. Smikle did not know she also bought a Mercedes in December 2002 until the dealer called him at home to see if he was happy with it. He could not figure out how she was paying for it all.

Finally, Smikle told her the relationship with Sharpton had to change or he wanted a divorce. He demanded she come clean; she would neither admit nor change anything. She says Rubenstein at first advised her on the divorce and then referred her to famed Long Island attorney Dominic Barbara, who's gone from Joey Buttafuoco to current clients Mike Lohan (father of Lindsay) and Victoria Gotti. Barbara called Sharpton a "good friend" in a brief conversation with the Voice, but did not complete the interview. Smikle represented himself.

illustration: Stanley Martucci and Cheryl Griesbach

Details

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  • Aware of all the allegations detailed in this article, Smikle would only say that he was once "looking forward" to a "long and fruitful relationship with my bride" but that "the issues raised here and more made that impossible." He said he was "very sad" that he had to "spend those years dealing with it" but that "through family and good friends, I have turned away from the past and will keep looking forward."

    Tom Morelli, whose apartment at Trump Place is next door to Harris's 15th floor, subletted, half-million-dollar unit, says he saw Sharpton "frequently when Harris first moved into the building," though the Rev claims he's only been there "once or twice." Another 15th floor resident recounted sightings as well, saying she saw him at 9 or 10 p.m. "one night prior to the election." There is "a buzz in the building," she added, about Sharpton "coming in and out and that his administrative assistant lives here." When this tenant asked about it, she got "the wink-wink from the doorman that something was going on." The doorman "has seen him many times," he says. In fact one doorman told us Sharpton had "a girlfriend" there, while a second acknowledged he'd seen him at the building, as has the local dry cleaner. Union employees claim he is seen at night and in the mornings, sometimes the early mornings, in the garage and on the elevators.

    Though one resident says Sharpton "gave her a rug and helped her move in," Harris says "my neighbors are liars" and that she's "never seen him lift a box." Morelli contends that she "never leaves the apartment" and plays music so loudly all day that he's had to complain. That squares with Elizabeth Burke's experience at NAN's West 42nd Street office, where she worked as a campaign scheduler last fall. "I never saw her do a full day's work," says Burke. "The most she'd do was two hours. We wouldn't see her for days, even when they weren't traveling. Sometimes they'd both be gone from the office for days and no one would know where they were." Even the scheduler "couldn't ask."


    When campaign manager Charles Halloran and she agreed, recalls Burke, that Harris could "no longer travel with the man to events that had nothing to do with NAN," Sharpton "went berserk" at Burke, who had to inform him. "He screamed at me that it was none of my business how he spent his money," Burke says, "and Charles had to step in." After that, NAN did begin to cover some of Harris's travel. "It always had to be a five-star hotel, with a suite for the Rev and two singles for Marjorie and her brother Eddie, who was supposed to be videoing the campaign. If they were on separate floors, he would've screamed." The rooms were exclusively in Sharpton's name, and he would handle the distribution of keys and next-day schedules, three of which were sent to him each night, sometimes very late.

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