Black Lives Matter Bleeds Cash As Disgraced Cofounder's Family Rakes In Big Bucks

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June 10, 2024

Black Lives Matter cofounder Patrisse Cullors resigned from the embattled charity in 2021, but the charity suffered from the excesses of her tenure well into 2023, according to a copy of its latest tax return obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Under Cullors’s leadership, Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation doled out massive contracts to her friends and family, purchased a $6 million mansion in Los Angeles in 2020, and financed the purchase of an $8 million mansion in Canada in 2021. By the end of its 2023 fiscal year, the tax forms show, Black Lives Matter saw the $80 million windfall it raked in during the George Floyd riots of 2020 diminish to under $29 million as it hemorrhaged cash fulfilling lingering contractual obligations to Cullors’s associates.

Those individuals include Damon Turner, the father of Cullors’s only child, whose art firm Trap Heals received $778,000 from Black Lives Matter in 2023 despite performing no work for the charity that year.

A Black Lives Matter source told the Free Beacon that the payments to Turner’s firm in 2023 were for work it performed hosting a concert series in early 2022. Black Lives Matter said in a statement Turner no longer works with the charity.

Other staffers from the Cullors era received massive payouts on their way out of Black Lives Matter. Former Black Lives Matter director of operations Raymond Howard and a consulting firm run by his sister, Danielle Howard, received a combined $1.1 million in payments in the group’s 2023 fiscal year.

The group also disclosed two separate six-figure settlement agreements to unnamed former employees in its 2023 financial statements. A former Black Lives Matter board member received $400,000 as part of one settlement agreement, and an unnamed former employee received $335,000 in another settlement. Black Lives Matter told the Free Beacon it would not comment on "confidential HR and legal matters."

Though Black Lives Matter’s latest financial disclosure paints a dire picture for the organization—it ran a $6 million deficit in 2023 after losing $8.5 million the year prior—the group said in a statement that 2023 was the start of a "new era" for the group. Black Lives Matter seeks to move past the controversies that arose during Cullors’s tenure as executive director and have bogged the group down since 2020.

"We are committed to ensuring BLM's future and its ability to fuel the work we do for Black people around the globe by managing our annual expenditures," Black Lives Matter said in a statement. "Year over year, we have decreased expenses from our first filing through this filing—71% over a three-year period of time. We have sought to make the organization sustainable and remain a core pillar that funds the Black liberation movement for the long haul."

But some holdovers from the Cullors era remain at Black Lives Matter. Her brother, Paul Cullors, received $200,000 in 2023 as Black Lives Matter’s head of security, and his company, Black Ties LLC, earned an additional $1.6 million providing professional security services for the charity. Since 2021, Paul Cullors and his companies have hauled in over $4.2 million protecting Black Lives Matter as it has called for a "national defunding of police."

A Black Lives Matter source said Paul Cullors and his company provide online and in-person security services for upwards of 80 Black Lives Matter activists, including Cullors and the movement’s other two cofounders, none of whom currently work for the charity. The source added that the group chose to work with Paul Cullors because his security firm is one of the few on the West Coast with no prior law enforcement background.

Another Cullors associate, Shalomyah Bowers, continues to serve on the Black Lives Matter board. Black Lives Matter paid his consulting firm $2.6 million for staffing and management services in its 2023 fiscal year.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Black Lives Matter’s finances. The group stands to receive a massive boost to its bottom line pending the results of a lawsuit it filed in May against the Tides Foundation, a left-wing dark money giant. The lawsuit alleges Tides refuses to hand back the more than $33 million it raised on behalf of Black Lives Matter in 2020. Tides contends it has ultimate control over the funds and has no obligation to return them to the charity.

But the group also has to contend with Black Lives Matter Grassroots, an offshoot organization led by longtime activist Melina Abdullah that now claims to be the true leader of the Black Lives Matter movement. Black Lives Matter Grassroots has its own financial challenges—there’s no evidence the group has ever filed a tax return and the $8.7 million it received from Tides from 2020 through 2022 is completely unaccounted for, the Free Beacon reported.