Ringleaders of Atlanta Bail Fund Booked on Money Laundering Charges

Rioters set police car aflame in Atlanta on Jan. 21, 2023
May 31, 2023

The ringleaders of a nonprofit bail fund allegedly involved in a domestic terrorist attack against an Atlanta police training center were arrested Wednesday on charges of money laundering and charity fraud.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Wednesday it found evidence linking the three directors of the Network for Strong Communities to the alleged financial crimes. The charity received a $3.6 million windfall during the George Floyd riots of 2020 and operates the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, the largest bail fund in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The charges stemmed from an ongoing investigation into an attack by masked assailants in January against the future site of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, a police academy scheduled to open in late 2023.

The charges come as other prominent social justice groups that rose to prominence during the nationwide unrest during the summer of 2020 unravel amid allegations of financial malfeasance. Black Lives Matter, which raised $90 million following Floyd’s death, reported last week that its revenues plummeted 88 percent in its 2022 fiscal year as it doled out lucrative contracts to the friends and family of its co-founder, Patrisse Cullors. And the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a bail fund championed by Vice President Kamala Harris that used its $41.7 million windfall to bail a host of violent offenders out of jail, suffered a 98 percent drop in contributions in 2021.

The Atlanta Solidarity Fund is part of a coalition of groups "resisting" the planned police training center, which is also known as "Cop City." The fund rushed in March to help release 23 suspects from jail that were charged with domestic terrorism for their alleged involvement in a "coordinated attack" against the site of Cop City that left one assailant dead.

"Today’s arrests are about the violence that occurred at the site of the future Atlanta Public Safety Training Center and elsewhere," Georgia attorney general Chris Carr said in a statement. "As we have said before, we will not rest until we have held accountable every person who has funded, organized, or participated in this violence and intimidation."

The Atlanta Solidarity Fund’s three directors, Marlon Kautz, Savannah Patterson, and Adele MacLean, will be booked into a local jail and have a bond hearing scheduled "soon," the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday. Further details on the financial allegations are unknown at this time. The Network for Strong Communities did not return a request for comment.

The "Stop Cop City" movement said it will hold a protest outside the DeKalb County Jail Wednesday evening to demand the release of Kautz, Patterson, and MacLean.