The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) leaders are speaking out against accusations that they’ve been shady with how they've spent donation dollars.
New York Magazine previously reported the foundation secretly purchased a $6 million California mansion in October 2020, two weeks after a hefty $66.5 million donation.
Sean Campbell, the investigative journalist behind the story, named co-founders Patrisse Cullors, Melina Abdullah, and Alicia Garza as the culprits of poor money management.
On Monday (April 11), Cullors and Abdullah denied the allegations and dismissed Campbell’s article as a media attack of “misinformation and disinformation,” NBC News reports. The pair said in a statement that the lack of transparency about the large purchase was to protect BLM leaders’ safety.
Cullors told reporters, “Almost immediately upon closing, the attacks on me, and BLM, which also means Melina and others, escalated.” She added, “So we did use the campus as a haven, as a safe place. That derailed an announcement strategy. Conditions changed, and that’s it.”
Cullors was formerly the executive director of BLMGNF until she left the organization last spring. At the time, the former executive director received backlash for purchasing multiple million-dollar homes across the U.S.
Campell’s New York Magazine report reignited concerns over the foundation’s use of donations. In 2020, the Associated Press reported that BLMGNF grossed $90 million giving $21.7 million in funding to BLM chapters around the country and Black grassroots organizations.
However, many questioned how the remaining $70 million was being used in 2020, along with the money raised in years past. Leaders of local chapters claimed they weren’t seeing any of the funds, but Cullors said the foundation didn’t receive much money until George Floyd’s death rocked the American public conscious.
Current leaders of the organization declined to comment on the allegations as of Monday. However, a spokesperson for BLMGNF said that "the Foundation intends to do its own media in the near future."
A statement from the current BLMGNF camp reads, “We are embracing this moment as an opportunity for accountability, healing, truth-telling, and transparency." The statement continues, “We understand the necessity of working intentionally to rebuild trust so we can continue forging a new path that sustains Black people for generations.”
Angela Davis joined the conversation on Monday, and she said the latest BLMGNF controversy seems similar to prior "attacks" on Black organization efforts. Davis said that this isn't the first time there have been attempts to "discredit movements" in order to dismantle Black power, NBC News reports.