Black Lives Matter Claims ‘Racism’ Over News of Spending Sprees
Patrisse Cullors is among the first to claim “racism” in response to the damaging headlines swirling around the finances of the “non-profit” she helped launch: Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
Controversy over profligate spending has crippled the richest network of “social justice warriors” in the country. The group enjoyed a banner year in 2020 -- in the midst of the George Floyd protests -- raking in $90 million in donations.
Supporters and detractors of the organization are starting to ask questions about the self-enrichment of its top-tier executives -- now mostly former BLM members. Chief among them is Cullors, who has yet to explain the source of income that enabled her to purchase four homes in posh neighborhoods amounting to $3.2 million.
That looming question had barely disappeared from headlines before Cullors became a lightning rod, and her colleagues, who were featured in a photograph sipping champagne on the balcony of an unreported BLM luxurious $6 million home purchase, resigned from the organization.
Powerful friends of the group on social media have made it possible to censor the initial damning information about Cullors’ spending spree, which was published in the New York Post. If you attempted to access the investigative stories, Facebook (now known as Meta Platforms, Inc.) blocked the exposé under the guise of it being “abusive” content. It appears that facts have feelings.
Writing off conservative media is one thing, but now a liberal magazine in the heart of leftistville, New York Magazine, has published an investigative piece on the recent unreported $6 million BLM property in Southern California: The mini-mansion was initially categorized as a “safe house” and later “creative meeting” facility. Either way, the view is wonderful from the balcony of the 6,785 square foot home featuring numerous opulent attractions: a spacious pool, seven bedrooms, two guest houses, and even a butler's pantry (every safe house could use one). The home is located in a predominantly white 5.8 square-mile suburb, Studio City, known as a high-income earning area. Many BLM supporters are upset over real estate purchased in nearly “all-white” areas.
Questions about the organization’s finances have become serious enough for even the authorities to come knocking on their door. Rob Bonta, California attorney general, issued a letter demanding the organization correct its “delinquent status” of failing to report $90 million in donations collected in 2020. The letter was dated Jan. 31, 2022, with a sixty-day deadline -- which has come and gone.
But the order contained in the letter remains in place, prohibiting the group from accepting further donations or tapping into the current stockpile of funds for BLM’s questionable expenditures. Attorney Bonta must decide the next step to enforce the letter’s “warning of assessment of penalties” and possible suspension of the organization’s registered “non-profit status.”
This has put a crimp in the organization’s spending sprees. In the past, the group’s VIPs enjoyed a posh resort stay in Malibu -- racking up a $26,000 tab -- to discuss the venture, “Reform LA Jails.” The irony of BLM executives sipping drinks poolside to discuss jail conditions did not escape supporters.
That isn’t much of a red flag compared to more questionable spending sprees. Lucrative consulting fees had rained down on several BLM executives and their favorite associates, in the six-digit range amounting to a total of $12.7 million, according to the “professional fee" list submitted by the group for 2021 (but not yet filed with the IRS): Chief among the highest-paid consultants and questionable expenditures include Cullors and her wife, Janaya Khan, who received $191,000 (through their consulting firm) for their work on “Reform LA Jails," Damon Turner, father of Cullor’s only child, who was paid $150,000 through his company “Trap Heals,” and another $6.3 million for a mansion in Canada purchased by Khan through the non-profit, Wildseed Centre for Art and Activism.
“This appears to be an epic abuse of public trust in which an entire movement’s resources are being squandered on the whims and financial mismanagement of one person and their inner circle of friends and family," said Tom Anderson, director of the Government Integrity Project of the National and Legal Policy Center, a public watchdog group.
Such damning comments are adding to the deluge of disastrous media coverage. Cullor’s assertion of “racism" and “sexism” as the motivating force behind the media coverage leaves her appearing deluded as to the reality of the situation.
BLM management has had enough presence of mind to apologize for the group’s lack of transparency. The formal statement issued by the non-profit may strike more than one attorney general as a gross understatement regarding the lack of transparency regarding the $90 million in donations in 2020. “(We) recognize there is more work to do to increase transparency and ensure transitions are clear.”
The most recent fallout from the unreported $6 million home in Studio City compelled the new leadership to assure the public: “We know narratives like this (seven-digit spending) cause harm,” according to a BLM statement on Twitter. “and these reports do not reflect the totality of the movement.”
Striking a more sentimental note, the group announced it is now “embracing this moment as an opportunity for accountability, healing, truth-telling, and transparency.” While the social justice warriors work on their “healing,” the public may have to wait on the issue of financial transparency.
BLM has requested a six-month extension from the IRS. If the last filing is any indication, BLM leaders may wish to start with reporting a correct address to the IRS, as opposed to listing an erroneous location, as in 2019. One does have to wonder if the richest “social justice” non-profit cannot figure out where the stockpiles of cash are processed, and how can they be trusted to account for the lucrative amounts allocated to themselves and close associates.