Monday, January 07, 2013

Gore Sought to Skirt Taxes on TV Sale Profits

    Al Gore’s sale of his cable channel Current TV to Al Jazeera has an intriguing footnote: The former vice president sought to close the sale before Jan. 1 to avoid higher taxes in the new year. 
     Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab news giant financed by the government of Qatar, reportedly paid $500 million for Gore’s low-rated channel, meaning Gore stands to gain $100 million for his 20 percent stake in Current.
    “Mr. Gore and his partners were eager to complete the deal by Dec. 31, lest it be subject to higher tax rates that took effect on Jan. 1, according to several people who insisted on anonymity,” The New York Times reported.
    But the deal was not signed until Wednesday, Jan. 2. 
    Gore said in an interview in November that the “most fortunate” in America should pay their “fair share” in taxes. 
    Fox talk show host Greta Van Susteren said on Thursday: “Apparently he doesn’t want to apply that rule to himself, or he has a different idea of what his fair share is.”
    Gore and his business partners founded Current TV seven years ago. Al Jazeera now plans to rebrand Current, which is available in more than 40 million U.S. homes.
    Current TV co-founder Joel Hyatt said he and Gore would join the advisory board of the new channel.
    Observers may also find irony in the fact, noted by Politico, that “Current, which was co-founded by climate change advocate Al Gore, agreed to be bought out by a broadcaster owned by the Qatari government, and therefore funded by oil.”
    Conservative commentator Glenn Beck’s media company The Blaze approached Current about a sale last year, The Wall Street Journal reported, but was told that “the legacy of who the network goes to is important to us and we are sensitive to networks not aligned with our point of view.”
    Al Jazeera ran an op-ed in July 2011 comparing Beck to a terrorist, saying he and several prominent terrorists “share the same core afflictions” and are “insecure, violently inclined, and illiberal.”

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