April 22, 2005

Sharpton may lose Pepsico seat over con men flap

Pepsico is reviewing the service of Rev. Al Sharpton on a minority advisory board after hearing claims by two con men that Sharpton was going to get them big bucks from Pepsico.

The two men, fast-food giant La-Van Hawkins and Philadelphia power broker Ronald White, raised plenty of money for Sharpton's presidential bid in 2004, and were overheard on a wiretap.

"Let's say they [Pepsi] probably have some minority mandates . . . We could take insurance, we could take printing, we could take their pension fund . . . If you just broke off, like, you know, 10 percent of that s- - -, man, like, you talking billions of dollars," White tells Hawkins on a March 31, 2003, tape.

A little over a week later, on April 8, Hawkins says that Sharpton has claimed he's already greased the skids to get the Pepsi president, identified on the tapes as "Donna," to invite them to breakfast.

"I said to him, 'Rev., Tuesday and Wednesday.' He came back and said Donna said let's have breakfast Monday morning . . . He's hooking that s- - - up for the president, Donna, on Wednesday," Hawkins says.

No one is sure as to who "Donna" is; the only female president within Pepsico is North American head Dawn Hudson.

The wiretaps were released as part of a corruption trial of Hawkins and others. White died last fall.

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