Black Lives Matter (BLM) is suing an executive of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (GNF) claiming that he stole $10 million in donations from the organization, reports The Hill.
The suit was filed last Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court against GNF, GNF board member Shalomyah Bowers, and his consulting firm.
According to the suit, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors hired Bowers in 2020 to help lead the GNF, which was an extension of the Black Lives Matter grassroots organization.
GNF was established by Cullors “as an administrative organization to raise funds to provide financial support for local-level community efforts of BLM Grassroots,” the suit said, while the BLM Grassroots was responsible for the “on-the-ground work."
In May 2021, Cullors left her leadership post at GNF planning to lead the “transition of the entire organization to BLM Grassroots,” the suit read.
That same month, Cullors notified Bowers and Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of BLM, of a “formal transition plan” along with other key members of the organization's leadership team.
The GNF Leadership Council agreed to execute the transition plan set forth by Cullors, but Bowers, the suit alleges, "who made $2,167,894 from GNF in less than eight months, decided he wanted to keep the ‘piggy bank’ that GNF had become to him and his company."
The suit also stated that Bowers also refused to disclose certain financial and organizing information from other leaders in the group.
“Within months, Bowers had run these well-respected advocates out of the organization,” the complaint read. “Through a series of misrepresentations and unauthorized backroom dealings, Mr. Bowers managed to steal control over GNF as the sole Board member and officer.”
In a statement posted on the BLM website, Bowers vehemently denied the accusations, which BLM Grassroots presented in a news conference last week, saying the allegations are “harmful, divisive, and false.”
“BLMGR and Melina Abdullah read a press statement claiming that Patrisse Cullors created a transition plan giving all of BLMGNF’s assets to BLM Grassroots. That is absolutely false,” his statement said.
“BLMGNF has only made payments to Bowers Consulting Firm since 2020 pursuant to its fully executed and legal contract with Bowers Consulting Firm, which was approved prior to Shalomyah joining the BLMGNF Board of Directors,” his statement continued. “This was all shown on BLMGNF’s filed IRS Form 990 and the same was released for public inspection in May of 2022 on the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation Transparency Center.
The lawsuit is the latest in a series of accusations levied at the organization regarding alleged financial improprieties. In late 2020, ten original BLM local chapters announced they were severing ties with GNF claiming a lack of transparency and support.
Earlier this year, it was reported that BLM executives purchased a $6 million home in California with money donated to GNF.