Black Lives Matter (BLM) is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy despite plundering more than $100 million in donations in recent years, and splashing out millions of dollars on luxury homes, while handing seven-figure salaries to friends and relatives.
BLM’s national organization, headed by founder Marxist academic Patrisse Cullors, is attempting to balance the books after finances plunged $8.5 million into the red last year. Allies and critics alike have questioned where the money went.
Financial disclosures obtained by The Washington Free Beacon show the perilous state of BLM’s Global Network Foundation, which officially emerged in November 2020, as a more formal way of structuring the civil rights movement.
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Yet despite the financial controversy and scrutiny, BLM GNF continued to hire relatives of Cullors on very generous salaries, despite their lack of experience in the new roles, and appointed several as board members.
Daily Mail report Cullors’ brother, Paul Cullors, set up two companies which were paid $1.6 million providing ‘professional security services’ for Black Lives Matter in 2022.
Paul Cullors was also one of BLM’s only two paid employees during the year, collecting a $126,000 salary as ‘head of security’ on top of his consulting fees. He is best known as a graffiti artist, with no background in security.
Patrisse Cullors defended hiring him, saying registered security firms which hired former police officers could not be trusted, given the movement’s opposition to police brutality.
For the previous year, 2021, tax filings revealed that BLM paid a company owned by Damon Turner, the father of Cullors’ child, nearly $970,000 to help ‘produce live events’ and provide other ‘creative services.’
Cullors resigned in May 2021.
‘While Patrisse Cullors was forced to resign due to charges of using BLM’s funds for her personal use, it looks like she’s still keeping it all in the family,’ said Paul Kamenar, an attorney for the National Legal and Policy Center watchdog group.
Shalomyah Bowers, who took over from Cullors when she resigned, also benefitted handsomely from the group: in 2022, his consultancy firm was paid $1.7 million for management and consulting services, the Free Beacon reported.
And the sister of former Black Lives Matter board member Raymond Howard was also employed in a lucrative role as a consultant.
Danielle Edwards’s firm, New Impact Partners, was paid $1.1 million for consulting services in 2022, the Free Beacon said.
BLM GNF also agreed to pay an additional $600,000 to an unidentified former board member’s consulting firm ‘in connection with a contract dispute’.
The non-profit group ran an $8.5 million deficit, and its investment accounts fell in value by nearly $10 million in the most recent tax year, financial disclosures show.
The group logged a $961,000 loss on a securities sale of $172,000, suggesting the group sustained an 85 percent loss on the transaction. Further details of that security have not been shared.
And the cash flowing into BLM’s coffers has dropped dramatically.
Donations plunged by 88 percent between 2021 and 2022, from $77 million to just $9.3 million for the most recent financial year.
Patrisse Cullors, who had been at the helm of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation for nearly six years, stepped down in May 2021, amid anger at the group’s financial decisions and perceived lack of transparency.
A year later, in May 2022, it was revealed Black Lives Matter spent more than $12 million on luxury properties in Los Angeles and in Toronto – including a $6.3 million 10,000-square-foot property in Canada that was purchased as part of a $8M ‘out of country grant.’
The Toronto property was bought with grant money that was meant for ‘activities to educate and support black communities, and to purchase and renovate property for charitable use.’
The group had said it was planning to use the property as main headquarters in Canada, and it has now been named the Wilseed Center for Arts and Activism.
It emerged that Cullors transferred millions from the organization to a charity run by her wife, Janaya Khan, to purchase the property.
Cullors admitted to AP that her group was ill-equipped to handle the finances of a charity which received $90 million the year after George Floyd was killed – but denied any wrongdoing.
Cullors issued a statement denying she used the $6 million LA property for personal purposes, but then had to backtrack and admit she had used the compound for purposes that were not strictly business.
The activist also amassed a $3 million property portfolio of her own, including homes in LA and Georgia, although there is no suggestion of any financial impropriety.
Concerns over the groups finances have swirled for years with BLM coming under intense scrutiny in the past.
In February 2022 the group stopped online fundraising following a demand by the California attorney general tho show where millions of dollars in donations received in 2020 went.
The group said the ‘shutdown’ was simply short term while any ‘issues related to state fundraising compliance’ were addressed.