Head of NY BLM calls for investigation into co-founder’s million dollar home purchases

NEW YORK CITY, NY – BLM co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors is facing backlash from within after spending millions of dollars on homes in predominantly white neighborhoods.

Hawk Newsome, the head of the Black Lives Matter Greater New York City chapter has called for “an independent investigation” into how the global network is spending its money.

As protests spread across the country in the name of Black Lives Matter, Khan-Cullors, 37, bought four expensive homes totaling $3.2 million in the United States.

She also studied property in the Bahamas at an ultra-exclusive resort where Justin Timberlake and Tiger Woods both have homes, according to a report in the New York Post.

A local agent priced property at the resort between $5 million and $20 million.

Kahn-Cullors created the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag in 2013 in response to George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin.

The organization grew substantially into a largely decentralized movement at the forefront of issues of police brutality and racial violence against black citizens following the killing of George Floyd in May 2020.

Real Estate website Dirt.com reported that Kahn-Cullors purchased a $1.4 million compound in Topanga, a remote Los Angeles neighborhood in the Santa Monica mountains. Though Kahn-Cullors advocates for “buying black,” the home is located in a predominantly white neighborhood.

BLMGNF partnered with advertising agency J. Walter Thompson to push a new “buy black” campaign in 2016, which included a link to a map of black-owned businesses claiming “the black community is under attack. It is more important than ever to buy local and buy Black.”

Cullors also purchased a home in New York City for $510,000 in 2016, a $590,000 home in South Los Angeles, and a ranch home in rural Georgia for $415,000. The home in Georgia, purchased last year, features a private airplane hangar.

The three-bedroom, two-bath house, about 30 minutes from Atlanta, has an indoor swimming pool and a separate “RV shop” that can accommodate the repair of a mobile home or small aircraft, according to the real estate listing.

Newsome, whose Black Lives Matter Greater New York City group is not affiliated with Khan-Cullors’ Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF), has called for ”an independent investigation” to find out how the BLMGNF is spending its money. Newsome said:

“If you go around calling yourself a socialist, you have to ask how much of her own personal money is going to charitable causes. It’s really sad because it makes people doubt the validity of the movement and overlook the fact that it’s the people that carry this movement.”

Khan-Cullors declared in 2015 that she and other BLM co-founders were “trained Marxists” who were “super-versed” in “ideological theories.” She said:

“Myself and Alicia [Garza] in particular are trained organizers. We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories.

“We don’t necessarily want to be the vanguard of this movement. I think we’ve tried to put out a political frame that’s about centering who we think are the most vulnerable amongst the black community, to really fight for all of our lives.”

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Black Lives Matter has received hundreds of millions of dollars in donations and pledges from corporations and individuals.  Khan-Cullors reported that the organization took in $90 million in 2020, with only $21.7 million committed to grant funding and helping 30 black-led groups across the country.

The financial report was the first given by the organization since its founding and caused tension between the BLMGNF and some local chapters. Several went public last fall with concerns about the lack of fiscal transparency and accountability within the organization.

BLMGNF issued a statement in response to concerns over Khan-Cullors’ earnings:

Patrisse Cullors is the Executive Director of Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF). She serves in this role in a volunteer capacity and does not receive a salary or benefits. Patrisse has received a total of $120,000 since the organization’s inception in 2013, for duties such as serving as spokesperson and engaging in political education work. Patrisse did not receive any compensation after 2019.

“To be abundantly clear, as a registered 501c3, BLMGNF cannot and did not commit any organizational resources toward the purchase of personal property by any employee or volunteer. Any insinuation or assertion to the contrary is categorically false.”

The statement then went on to accuse the “right-wing” of launching an “offensive against Khan-Cullors:

“Patrisse’s work for black people over the years has made her and others who align with the fight for black liberation targets of racist violence. The narratives being spread about Patrisse have been generated by right-wing forces intent on reducing the support and influence of a movement that is larger than any one organization.

“This right-wing offensive not only puts Patrisse, her child, and her loved ones in harm’s way, it also continues a tradition of terror by white supremacists against black activists. All Black activists know the fear these malicious and serious actions are meant to instill: the fear of being silenced, the trauma of being targeted, the torture of feeling one’s family is exposed to danger just for speaking out against unjust systems. We have seen this tactic of terror time and again, but our movement will not be silenced.”

After learning of the group’s massive income from donations in 2020, largely because of the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis, activists have been demanding money from BLMGNF. Michael Brown Sr., whose black son was killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, has demanded a $20 million share of the donations.

 

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Author: Scott A. Davis


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