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Newly released tax filings reveal that BLM paid a company owned by Damon Turner (left), the father of co-founder Patrisse Cullors' (right) child, nearly $970,000 to help 'produce live events' and provide other 'creative services.' The couple is pictured in 2020
A consulting firm run by Shalomyah Bowers (pictured), who is BLM's board secretary and has previously served as deputy executive director, was paid more than $2.1 million for providing the organization with operational support
The revelations come courtesy of a 63-page Form 990, the annual filing required for organizations to maintain tax-exempt status as a nonprofit.
This is the BLM foundation’s first public accounting of its finances since incorporating in 2017. As a fledgling nonprofit, it had been under the fiscal sponsorship of a well-established charity, and wasn’t required to publicly disclose its financials until it became an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit in December 2020.
In its latest 990, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation Inc. revealed that it ended the last fiscal year - from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 - with nearly $42million in net assets. The foundation had an operating budget of about $4million, according to a board member.
Nearly $6million was spent on the Studio City property, which includes a home with six bedrooms and bathrooms, a swimming pool, a soundstage and office space, was intended as a campus for a black artists fellowship and is currently used for that purpose, the board member said.
The foundation invested $32million in stocks from the $90million it received as donations amid racial justice protests in 2020.
The investment is expected to become an endowment to ensure the foundation's work continues in the future, organizers say.
But still, after spending more than $37million on grants, real estate, consultants and other expenses, the BLM movement is still worth tens of millions of dollars.
The co-founder's brother, Paul Cullors (right), received more than $840,000 for providing security services to the foundation. He is pictured alongside his brother Monte
Also raising eyebrows was the fact that during the last fiscal year, Cullors was the foundation board's sole voting director and held no board meetings, according to the filing. Although that is permissible under Delaware law, where the foundation is incorporated, that governance structure gives the appearance that Cullors alone decided who to hire and how to spend donations.
However, current board members allege that was never the truth.
'This 990 reveals that (the BLM foundation) is the largest black abolitionist nonprofit organization that has ever existed in the nation's history. What we're doing has never been done before,' said Shalomyah Bowers, who serves as the foundation's board secretary.
We needed to get dollars out to grassroots organizations doing the work of abolition, doing the work that would shift the moral tide of this world towards one that does not have or believe in police, prisons, jails or violence,' he said.
Bowers, whose firm received the lion's share of money spent on consultants in the last fiscal year, hit back at the allegations that the foundation has a conflict of interest and said the last BLM board approved the contract with his firm when he was not a board member.
'Our firm stepped in when Black Lives Matter had no structure and no staff,' he said. 'We filled the gap, when nothing else existed. But let me be crystal clear, there was no conflict of interest.'
The new filing also revealed paid the foundation $390 over her uses of the 6,500 square-foot Studio City property in Los Angeles for two private events
Cullors has repeatedly denied claims that she took money from BLM for personal matters and has reiterated that all the purchases and transactions - including the lavish 6,500 square-foot Studio City property home - were legitimate