Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder Patrisse Cullors admitted this week that she used the group’s $6 million property to host personal parties, igniting further suspicions of BLM leaders misusing funds for personal gain.
Cullors made the admission in an interview with the AP, in which she denied overt wrongdoing when it came to the mountain of funds the group received after the George Floyd protests in 2020. While she admitted that the group was ill-prepared to handle the wave of funds, leaders ultimately purchased a $6 million compound in Los Angles, which has continued to spark criticism:
Recent disclosures that the foundation had paid $6 million for a Los Angeles compound in 2020 unleashed a torrent of criticism and social media chatter. The property in Studio City — including a home with six bedrooms and bathrooms, a swimming pool, a soundstage and office space — is meant to be both a meeting venue and a campus for Black artists.
Some criticism came from BLM supporters like Justin Hansford, director of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at Howard University. He said the property purchase could be weaponized by movement opponents, leading possible donors to shy away from Black-led social justice organizations: “That’s the thing that you don’t want to get out of hand.”
“We really wanted to make sure that the global network foundation had an asset that wasn’t just financial resources,” Cullors told the AP, defending the purchase. “And we understood that not many black-led organizations have property. They don’t own their property.”
However, while denying any general financial malfeasance, Cullors admitted to using the 6-bedroom home twice for personal use, acknowledging that it “probably wasn’t the best idea.”
One of those events took place in January 2021, where she apparently sought “refuge at the property amid threats on her life.” However, at that time, she chose to host an inauguration party celebrating the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, along with roughly 15 people, “including BLM Los Angeles chapter members and other prominent movement supporters,” according to the AP.
Two months later, Cullors threw her son a birthday party at the BLM property, but she told the outlet “she intended to pay a rental fee to the foundation.”
“I look back at that and think, that probably wasn’t the best idea,” she said.
However, she maintained that, as a whole, she did not misuse BLM funds.
“The idea that (the foundation) received millions of dollars and then I hid those dollars in my bank account is absolutely false,” she told the outlet
“That’s a false narrative. It’s impacted me personally and professionally, that people would accuse me of stealing from black people,” she added.
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