Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Melina Abdullah BLM leaders accused of secretly using $6M to buy luxury California house from donations.
Black Lives Matters leaders are said to have ‘clandestinely’ used up to $6 million in received donations to purchase a luxury Southern California home last year according to a new report.
The mega purchase has raised questions whether the money could have been better spent on core activism and why news of the purchase remained under a tight lid – until now.
Three leaders of the social justice movement – Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Melina Abdullah –recorded a video last June outside of the ‘secretly bought’ home while marking the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, New York magazine reported.
Cullors, BLM’s co-founder, at the time had stated being in ‘survival mode’ despite a report via the nypost in April revealing her purchase of four high-end US homes for $3.2 million.
‘It’s because we’re powerful, because we are winning,’ Cullors responded at the time against what she decried as right-wing media attacks. ‘It’s because we are threatening the establishment, we’re threatening white supremacy.’
Through reporting, I learned that the BLMGNF has pooled resources with consulting firms run by Patrisse Cullors, the former exec director, and Shalomyah Bowers, the dep exec director, to monitor social media and investigate journalists including myself. 4/ https://t.co/KUh6sCmm0J
— Sean Kevin Campbell (@Sean_Kev) April 4, 2022
Resistance to share details of new home purchase
Nevertheless Cullors and her colleagues declined to share details of the then recent upscale home seen in the video – described as a 6,500-square-foot abode with more than seven bedrooms and bathrooms, fireplaces, a pool as well as parking for more than 20 cars, according to a real estate listing cited by the magazine.
The property was purchased in October 2020 with funds that had been previously donated to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, according to the NY Mag report.
The seven-bedroom residence was purchased by a Dyane Pascall two weeks after BLMGNF received $66.5 million from its fiscal sponsor earlier that month. Pascall is the financial manager for Janaya and Patrisse Consulting — an LLC operated by Cullors and her spouse, Janaya Khan, New York Magazine reported.
Ownership was then transferred within a week to an LLC in Delaware, ensuring the property’s owner wouldn’t be disclosed.
Matters culminated with Cullors, resigning in May as the group’s executive director amid criticism over her personal acquisition of three homes in the Los Angeles area and another outside Atlanta.
The purchase of the nearly $6 million home had not been previously reported and BLM officials tried to keep its existence a secret from a journalist looking into the transaction, according to the report.
The organization tried to ‘kill’ the story about the home – referred internally as the ‘complex’ – while one strategy memo reportedly suggested it might be used as an ‘influencer house’ where artists could congregate.
Always planned to disclose home legal filings?
The residence was purchased for the purpose of serving as ‘housing and studio space‘ for recipients of the Black Joy Creators Fellowship, BLMGNF board member Shalomyah Bowers told the magazine in a statement Friday.
The foundation claims it had ‘always planned’ to disclose the home’s legal filings this May while stating that the abode didn’t serve as anyone’s personal residence, Bowers said.
But the statement did not spell out why little content had been produced there, some 17 months later, if it was in fact intended to be a creative space, according to the report.
One nonprofit organization expert said the sheer size of the residence might subject BLM to more criticism over what some now decry as the entity’s lackluster transparency.
‘That’s a very legitimate critique,‘ Candid cofounder Jacob Harold told nymag. ‘It’s not a critique that says what you’re doing is illegal or even unethical; it might just be strategic.’
Harold, who helped create a service that tracks US nonprofits, questioned (like many others…) whether the funds could’ve been better spent elsewhere.
‘Why aren’t you spending it on policy or, you know, other strategies that an organization might take to address the core issues around Black Lives Matter?’ Harold asked.
Reflected Ferguson, Missouri activist, ‘It’s a waste of resources.’