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Tipsheet

BLM Co-Founder Says Organization Did Nothing Wrong Buying $6 Million Dollar Home

AP Photo/Noah Berger

Patrisse Cullors, the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, defended the organization buying a $6 million mansion in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Studio City after it was flushed in cash following George Floyd's death and subsequent protests and riots.

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In an interview with the Associated Press, Cullors said BLMGN was unprepared for the massive influx in cash in 2020, which resulted in poor-decisions but insisted no one misused millions of dollars in donations.

"We use this term in our movement a lot, which is we’re building the plane while flying it. I don’t believe in that anymore. The only regret I have with BLM is wishing that we could have paused for one to two years, to just not do any work and just focus on the infrastructure," said Cullors.

"We looked at commercial building, we looked at, you know, homes and then we found this really amazing space that is a sweet spot between commercial and residential, that has offices spaces, that has parking, that has, yes a home on the property, but also has a sound stages...you could do live events in the backyard," Cullors explained.

Cullors said she never received a salary from BLMGN but she did receive "consulting dollars from the organization in the early days and it was about $120,000 that I received."

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While the mansion was supposed to be used for business purposes, Cullors admitted she used the home twice for personal events.

Transparency on where the $90 million raised in 2020 went to has dogged the organization as different BLM chapters across the country accused the leadership of not divvying up the money for local efforts.  

"The idea that (the foundation) received millions of dollars and then I hid those dollars in my bank account is absolutely false," she said. "That’s a false narrative. It’s impacted me personally and professionally, that people would accuse me of stealing from Black people."

The New York Magazine reported BLM Global Network used a middleman to purchase the mansion, Dyane Pascall, to keep the transaction a secret:

"[BLM Global Network] received an infusion of $66.5 million from its fiscal sponsor — an intermediary commonly used by fledgling nonprofits to process donations. Two weeks later, a man named Dyane Pascall purchased the seven-bedroom house that would become known as Campus. According to California business-registration documents, Pascall is the financial manager for Janaya and Patrisse Consulting, an LLC run by Cullors and her spouse, Janaya Khan; Pascall is also the chief financial officer for Trap Heals, a nonprofit led by Damon Turner, the father of Cullors’s only child.

"Within a week, Pascall transferred ownership of the house to an LLC established in Delaware by the law firm Perkins Coie. The maneuver ensured that the ultimate identity of the property’s new owner was not disclosed to the public."

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