Newly released tax filings reveal that Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder Patrisse Cullors used charity funds to pay her child’s father $970,000 for ‘creative services’, her brother $840,000 for security, and a fellow director $2.1M.
The tax forms are the first look inside BLM’s finances. The organization was previously fiscally sponsored and was not required to publicly disclose its financials until it became an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit in December 2020. The financial information comes from a 63-page Form 990, the annual filing required for organizations to maintain tax-exempt status as a nonprofit.
According to the tax forms, the nonprofit organization paid $2.1 million to Bowers Consulting, a firm run by Shalomyah Bowers, BLM’s board secretary, between July 2020 and June 2021.
Cullors’ brother, Paul Cullors, was paid $840,000 for allegedly providing security services to the organization.
The documents also show that Damon Turner, the father of Cullors’ child, was paid $970,000 to help “produce live events” as well as other “creative services”.
The filing also revealed that more than $37 million was spent by the foundation on grants, real estate, and on private flights.
Additionally, $32 million was invested in stocks. According to BLM organizers, the investment is expected to become an endowment in a bid to ensure the foundation’s work continues in the future.
The tax document shows that Cullor used $73,523 to charter a private jet that she later reimbursed to the organization. She said she only took the flight out of concern for the COVID-19 pandemic and the health risks of flying commercial.
Cullors resigned from BLM last year after finding herself under public scrutiny after she received a $120,000 payment for undisclosed “consulting fees” and purchased a $6 million dollar house in Southern California using donation money.
She has repeatedly denied claims that she took money from BLM for personal matters and has reiterated that all the purchases and transactions – including the $6 million mansion – were legitimate.
Cullors said the property was purchased by BLM to serve as a meeting venue and campus. She also issued a statement denying suggestions she had lived at the property — or taken advantage of it for personal gain.
Cullors said she also threw a private birthday party for her son at the property in March 2021 — and intended to pay a rental fee to BLM.
The recent tax filing shows she paid the foundation $390 for her uses of the 6,500 square-foot property for two private events.
“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 added.
The foundation vowed to launch a “transparency and accountability center” on its website to make its financial documents available for public inspection.
Controversy surrounding the organization’s finances has elicited probes by at least two state attorneys general.
Board members said they are cooperating with civil investigations in Indiana and Ohio, and they have turned over relevant documents to those authorities.
The foundation will launch a ‘transparency and accountability center’ on its website to make its financial documents available for public inspection, Bowers added.