Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, BLM witnessed a cascade of donations, receiving more than $90 million in 2020 alone.
The murky finances of BLM have attracted significant attention for some months as the racial justice group’s lack of transparency fueled calls for increased scrutiny.
Now charity tax documents show how BLM spent its funds over a one-year period.
As the Washington Examiner reports:
Damon Turner, the father of Cullors’s only child, raked in $969,459 from the embattled charity through his art firm, Trap Heals, BLM’s Form 990 disclosure shows. An LLC run by Cullors’s brother, Paul Cullors, received $840,993 for “professional security services.” Shalomyah Bowers, a member of the BLM board of directors and a close associate to Cullors, pulled in $2,167,894 to his company for consulting and management services. New Impact Partners, an LLC run by the sister of BLM operations director Raymond Howard, received $107,000 for “fundraising counsel activities.”
Cullors ultimately had exclusive control over how BLM spent its funds, as she was the only member of the charity’s board of directors from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, the time frame covered by the Form 990 disclosure.
BLM, like all charities, is required by law to make its 990 forms public when requested.
At a conference last month, Cullors called having to disclose BLM’s financial documents “triggering.”
In an interview with the Examiner, Tom Anderson, the director of the National Legal and Policy Center’s Government Integrity Project, said, “I’m sure people who donated, in some cases their rent money, to BLM didn’t expect millions of dollars going to family members and close associates of Patrisse Cullors while thousands of protests were taking place.”
The Examiner adds:
BLM even paid out $139,625 to its former executive director, Kailee Scales, despite the fact that she didn’t work for the charity during the time frame.
“Kailee Scales did not serve during the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021,” BLM reported in its Form 990. “However, she did receive a severance payment for calendar year 2020 in the amount of $139,625. The terms and conditions of the arrangement are confidential.”
BLM also spent just shy of $6 million in donor cash on a mansion in Los Angeles.