Few would begrudge a nonprofit committed to excellence and benefiting the marginalized from owning a nice office building and allowing staff to use the facility for special celebrations occasionally. However, Black Lives Matter’s purchase of a $6 million mansion is “beyond the pale.”
Muddying the water is the organization’s ties to violence, anti-family rhetoric, lack of financial transparency and the recent reversal of the co-founder’s testimony regarding how she used the property. Many now question the legitimacy and future of the organization.
In February, the New York Post reported that the BLM organization is “imploding in scandal.”
Their report noted that Indiana, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina and Virginia had revoked BLMNGF’s charitable registration, while California and Washington threaten to hold the nonprofit’s officers personally liable for its lack of financial transparency.
The BLM organization has failed to file taxes for 2020, the year it raised tens of millions after George Floyd’s death. And the failing organization has no formal leader overseeing its millions in revenue since its co-founder, Patrisse Cullors, resigned last May amid scandal.
Cullors is at the heart of the scandal surrounding the acquisition of a $6 million Los Angeles mansion purchased with donations to the BLM nonprofit.
After a damning investigative news story was published, Cullors claimed the “reputable publication” was biased against her and “other Black leaders”:
“The fact that a reputable publication would allow a reporter, with a proven and very public bias against me and other Black leaders, to write a piece filled with misinformation, innuendo and incendiary opinions, is disheartening and unacceptable.”
Last year, Cullors issued a statement denying accusations that she lived in the home “or taken advantage of it for personal gain.”
Despite initially stating she had never used the property for personal gain, Cullors now admits that she did utilize the mansion for personal purposes, including hosting her son’s birthday party and parties to celebrate President Biden’s inauguration early last year, according to the New York Post.
According to the Post, internal BLM memos show that when the purchase of the $6 million property first emerged in a New York magazine report, the organization reportedly tried to “kill” the story. One strategy memo reportedly suggested it might be used as an “influencer house” where artists can congregate.
In the new interview with the AP, Cullors said she’d made mistakes and regrettable choices — but “adamantly denied claims she personally benefited while leading BLM.”
“The idea that [the foundation] received millions of dollars and then I hid those dollars in my bank account is absolutely false,” she told AP. “That’s a false narrative. It’s impacted me personally and professionally, that people would accuse me of stealing from Black people.”
Cullors also asserted that “no one else in leadership ever misused BLM’s millions of dollars in donations,” despite allegations of financial improprieties.
In the interview, Cullors admitted BLM “wasn’t prepared to deal with the influx of donations in the wake of George Floyd’s death” in the summer of 2020 and that “the organization was slow to build the necessary framework.”
One of BLM’s board members, Shalomyah Bowers, reports the organization has been working to sort out its infrastructure and underwent an independent financial audit. Bowers claims that the audit, as well as the expected May release of its latest 990 filing, will show “nothing impermissible or nefarious has happened” with BLM’s finances.
“We are now a foundation that is deeply devoted to investing in organizations that are committed to doing the work of abolition [and] committed to building Black power,” Bowers said.
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