The Washington Free Beacon first broke the news, citing tax documents from the activist group. The outlet reported that the BLM Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) – the movement's national arm – blew through two-thirds of the $90 million raised after the death of George Floyd in 2020. It also suffered a massive drop in donations in its 2022 fiscal year filing.
BLM Grassroots, a coalition of 26 local BLM chapters once closely allied with BLMGNF, blasted the latter's mismanagement of funds in a statement. It pointed its finger at co-founder and "trained Marxist" Patrisse Cullors for the group's collapse. Established in 2020, BLM Grassroots broke away in 2022 as several liberal states cracked down on the foundation for widespread compliance issues.
"The plummeting of donations to [the BLMGNF] is further evidence that donors want to fund the work, not high-priced consultants," BLM Grassroots said, adding that it is now engaged in a fight for the soul of BLM."
"BLM Grassroots continues to fight on the front lines for justice every day while simultaneously fighting to get out the facts, despite [BLMGNF's] well-funded efforts to discredit the organization, their hard work and integrity."
Melina Abdullah, BLM Grassroots director, admitted that she had no idea the BLMGNF was squandering charitable funds before the two groups split.
"At the time, I didn't know anything about dollars coming in or about … who's getting paid what," she said during an appearance on the "Roland Martin Unfiltered" podcast. "We view BLM as a movement, so I've been less vocal about what's been happening inside of BLM that I, frankly, have nothing to do with."
The Free Beacon also disclosed that during the tax year ending June 2022, BLMGNF spent more than $10.5 million on high-priced contractors. Interestingly, many of these contractors share close ties with Cullors – stoking rumors of embezzlement.
In one instance, two companies run by Patrice's brother Paul raked in $1.6 million for "professional security services" for BLM last year. Paul also collected a $126,000 salary for his work as BLM's "head of security." This gig also entailed protecting a $6 million mansion in Los Angeles the foundation secretly purchased with donor cash in 2021. (Related: Black Lives Matter financially imploding as founder and her family reportedly pillage funds.)
Shalomyah Bowers, Patrice's close associate who she handpicked to lead BLMGNF, also siphoned off $1.7 million in donated funds to his company Bowers Consulting in the 2022 tax year. The firm had provided "management and consulting services" to BLM, according to the Free Beacon.
Patrice chose Bowers to helm BLMGNF when she stepped down in May 2021. However, this proved to be the breaking point between the national group and the local BLM chapters – including BLM Grassroots under the purview of Abdullah.
Back in September 2022, BLM Grassroots filed a lawsuit against Bowers and the national arm of the movement under his leadership. The coalition accused Bowers of using the foundation as his "personal piggy bank" to fraudulently siphon $10 million in "fees" to his consultancy.
"[Bowers] continued to betray the public trust by self-dealing and breaching his fiduciary duties," the lawsuit said. "His actions have led BLM into multiple investigations by the Internal Revenue Service and various state attorney generals, blazing a path of irreparable harm to BLM in less than 18 months."
BLM Grassroots' statement also alluded to this lawsuit, claiming that "usurpers in charge had seized control of the donated assets meant to fund the movement." It added: "The boots-on-the-ground, everyday people who birthed, built and who fuel the movement were locked out of their social media, which had millions of followers who once relied on the platforms for vital information."
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