Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation’s (BLMGNF) recently appointed board chair, Cicely Gay, filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy three times, with the most recent instance being in 2016, the New York Post reported.
Gay also filed for bankruptcy in 2005 and 2013, according to Post, which cites federal court documents further verified by the National Desk. A 2016 filing showed she was bogged down by $120,000 in debt, a large chunk of which was comprised of student loans ($55,000) and an $18,000 car lease.
The BLMGFN board chair completed a court-ordered fiscal responsibility class in December of that year, before “most of her debts ‘discharged’ in 2017,” the Post wrote, citing the records. It was not clear what the conditions surrounding the discharge were.
In a statement to the Post, Gay wrote in part:
In addition to engaging in a thorough vetting process, the Foundation recognized that I not only bring 20 years of extensive professional non-profit experience to the board, but I also bring personal experiences that mirror those of the people we are trying to serve. That is the work of the foundation — to break down systemic barriers to living full lives by providing the insights, tools and supports necessary for Black people to thrive.”
On April 27, BLMGFN announced that Gay and two other individuals, D’Zhane Parker and Shalomyah Bowers, were appointed to the board of directors.
The foundation stated at the time that Gay had two decades worth of “nonprofit and philanthropic experience” under her belt.
The report of Gay’s personal monetary woes comes as Black Lives Matter (BLM) has drawn intense scrutiny over its handling of finances. Questions and criticisms were only exacerbated last month when an IRS tax filing showed that the brother of its co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who resigned last year, in addition to her child’s father, benefited from hundreds of thousands of dollars “in return for various services,” as Breitbart News reported on May 17:
The tax documents as seen by numerous media outlets reveal BLM paid a company owned by Damon Turner, the father of Cullors’ child, nearly $970,000 to help “produce live events” and provide other “creative services.”
According to the Daily Mail, the co-founder’s brother, Paul Cullors, saw more than $840,000 of donated funds pass into his hands for providing security services to the foundation.
At the time, Bowers told the New York Times of the tax filings:
As a new board, we are building policies that didn’t exist, operational and administrative infrastructure that didn’t exist. We’re making it clear to Black people that we’re an institution and that we’re here to stay. In order to do that, we need to demonstrate that our financial house is in order.
Gay also issued a statement, according to the Times, noting that no “one expected the foundation to grow at this pace and to this scale.”
“Now, we are taking time to build efficient infrastructure to run the largest Black, abolitionist, philanthropic organization to ever exist in the United States,” she added.