In the United States, a scandal broke out: the press obtained documents proving that the leaders of the Black Lives Matters organization purchased a luxurious mansion in California with donations to the fund, paying $6 million for it. This is reported by New York Magazine. The purchase was made in 2020. The home is known to be over 600 square meters in size, with seven bedrooms and bathrooms, multiple fireplaces, a swimming pool, bungalows and parking for 20+ cars. Where exactly the property is located is still unknown: the buyers covered up the traces of front organizations. Nevertheless, last spring they filmed and posted several videos where they dined and drank champagne on the estate.
The news came out as part of a federal investigation into the misuse of funds donated to BLM by philanthropists. Last May, the foundation's co-founder Patrice Cullors was forced to resign after it was revealed she had spent $3.2 million to buy four luxury homes. Two more employees left with her, also captured in the video drinking champagne - Alicia Garza and Melina Abdullah. Ongoing investigation shows that donor money was, in fact, often used by BLM for purposes that could be interpreted as the personal enrichment of high-ranking employees.
The California estate was purchased by one Diane Pascall two weeks after BLM received $66.5 million from backers in October 2020. As it turns out, Pascall is the financial manager of Janaya and Patrisse Consulting, a company run by Cullors and her wife, Janaya Khan. A week after the purchase, ownership was transferred to a company in Delaware, with guarantees that the name of the new owners would not be disclosed.
In internal correspondence between BLM employees, the house was referred to as "Campus". New York Magazine journalists found out about its existence thanks to an insider who had access to the internal email of the BLM management. After the publication asked the fund to comment on the information about the purchase, management sent out a memo to employees with recommendations on how to answer uncomfortable questions. There, for example, there was such a clause: “The campus is part of the cultural division of the organization, where artists and creatives work.” But, apparently, no creativity, with the exception of a video with champagne, has not been created on the Campus for a year and a half.
Experts say BLM is in for a tough time, and leaders will have to answer many questions in the coming months about why a tax-exempt charitable foundation is spending donor money not on political activities closely related to the Black Lives Matter movement, but to buy expensive real estate that is hidden from the public.
In February, the foundation's leaders received a notice from the Department of Justice saying they could be held personally liable if they did not disclose financial records of $60 million in donations within the next 60 days. If BLM fails to submit these documents, its charitable status will be revoked. Washington state authorities have already demanded that the foundation "immediately stop" fundraising in the state due to "lack of financial transparency." However, despite the order, BLM continues to ask for and receive contributions from residents of the state.