VERIFY viewers asked if Black Lives Matter had bought a California estate. We made sure that the national organization did purchase the estate in 2020.
On April 4, New York Magazine published an article claiming that the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF), a tax-exempt organization that serves as the national center of the Black Lives Matter movement, secretly acquired a nearly $ 6 million luxury property on April 4. Los Angeles in 2020 with funds donated to the organization.
In the days following the report, several Republican lawmakers, including Texas State Representative Lance Gooden, California State Representative Darrell Issaand Some others On Twitter he asked how the national organization really uses the funds donated. VERIFY viewers Matthew Pink also sent an email from VERIFY asking if Black Lives Matter had actually purchased a million-dollar estate.
Did Black Lives Matter buy a million-dollar mansion in Los Angeles?
- Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation
- Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation
- Shlomia Bowers, Board Member, Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation
- Los Angeles County Tax Office
- Los Angeles County Property Records
- Secretary of State of California Business Entities
- Income Tax (IRS)
Yes, the Black Lives Matter National Association purchased a million-dollar mansion in Los Angeles in 2020.
What we found
The Black Lives Matter movement was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman. Zimmerman admitted to fatally shooting 17-year-old Tribune Martin, who was Black, in Sanford, Florida. Nearly nine years later, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) has grown into a prominent racial justice organization with the mission “to eliminate white supremacy and build a local force to intervene in violence perpetrated against black communities by the state and cities.” According to his website.
On April 5, Patrice Colors, who founded Black Lives Matter but resigned as CEO of BLMGNF in May 2021, shared a post on her Instagram page stating that the organization purchased the property mentioned in a New York Magazine article as a space where those within BLMGNF and the wider movement They will be able to “work, create content, host meetings and foster creativity.”
“Although I can not talk about how BLMGNF is currently using the property when I left the organization last May, it was purchased to be a safe space for black people in the community,” Colors wrote, explaining that the property was not purchased “secretly” as the title of the New York article suggests. magazine.
Cullors ‘resignation from her position as CEO following a dispute over BLMGNF’s finances and Cullors’ personal wealth, according to the AP news agency.
Los Angeles County property records obtained by VERIFY show that Studio City Estate was sold for $ 5,888,800 on October 27, 2020. The 6,785-square-foot home, originally built in 1936, includes seven bedrooms, six bathrooms, pool, home Accommodation, sound stage and music studio, according to a number of real estate listings and photos. VERIFY also found a public business listing of a limited liability company (LLC) registered in Delaware that uses the property address as an LLC. It was set up a few days before purchasing the estate.
Shlomia Bowers, a member of BLMGNF’s board, told VERIFY in a statement that the LLC is affiliated with BLMGNF. The Los Angeles County Assessment Office also confirmed in an email that the property owner is registered as an LLC. Because LLC uses the property address in its name, VERIFY does not publish it due to privacy concerns.
Bowers explained that Perkins Koi, a law firm that had previously worked with BLMGNF and a partner named Diane Pascal, “were engaged to help close the purchase of the property.”
“BLMGNF has established an LLC to take ownership of the property, which is common in real estate transactions to avoid exposing BLM assets to any litigation or liability,” Bowers said.
Bowers said the organization purchased the property “with the intention of serving as a residence and studio for Black Joy Creators Fellowship scholarship recipients.” He also said the property is not used as a personal residence. BLMGNF officially announced the scholarship on April 1st.
“The scholarship provides recording resources and a dedicated space for black creatives to launch content online and in real life that focuses on abolition, healing justice, urban agriculture and food justice, pop culture, activism and politics. Housing supply is an established practice for creators and artists,” Bowers said.
In February 2021, BLMGNF told the Associated Press that the organization took more than $ 90 million in 2020, following the murder of George Floyd. The fund said it ended 2020 with a balance of more than $ 60 million, after spending nearly a quarter of its assets on operating expenses, grants to black-led organizations and other charities.
BLMGNF critics say more of the money donated had to go to families of black victims of police violence who were unable to access the resources needed to deal with their trauma and loss. The AP news agency also reported that Colors had been targeted in the past by several conservative-leaning publications, which it claimed had taken a large annual salary from the fund.
New York Magazine reported that BLMGNF used the money donated to purchase the Los Angeles mansion. VERIFY has not independently endorsed this claim. VERIFY asked BLMGNF if donations were used to purchase the home but did not receive a response at the time of publication. Cullors said in her Instagram post that she “never used any money.”
According to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) records, BLMGNF was granted federal tax-exempt status in 2015. An exempt tax organization must file an annual information return or notice to the IRS (Form 990), unless there is an exception. However, income tax records show that BLMGNF has not filed Form 990 since 2019.
Colors and Bowers both said the organization plans to file the latest May 990 tax form, which will include information about LA’s property.
“I have never spent money illegally, and it hurts me that so many people have accepted this narrative without the presence of truth or tangible facts.” Cullors wrote in her Instagram post on April 5th. “However, it will be clarified soon with the release of the BLM 990s.”
Bowers also told VERIFY that the organization “always planned” to unveil the property in the coming 990s on May 15 “as part of BLMGNF’s ongoing transparency efforts”.
As of April 13, BLMGNF no longer collects donations on the organization’s official website.