• July 25, 2024

More BLM Drama: the Secret $6 Million Mansion and What Happened When Media Found Out

 More BLM Drama: the Secret $6 Million Mansion and What Happened When Media Found Out

AP Photo/Noah Berger

By Nick Arama | Apr 05, 2022 

The BLM Global Network Foundation acquired a $6 million luxury mansion in Studio City, California, through a middle man connected to co-founder Patrisse Cullors and an LLC shortly after they got a huge infusion of cash of $66.5 million from donations via their fiscal sponsor.

From Washington Examiner:

Six days after Dyane Pascall purchased the Studio City mansion in cash, he transferred the property’s deed to an LLC apparently named after the property’s address, public records show.

BLM used Pascall and the LLC as middlemen for the property purchase to “avoid exposing BLM’s assets to any litigation or liability,” BLM board member Shalomyah Bowers told the Washington Examiner on Monday. He added that the mansion does not serve as a personal residence.

Pascall is the financial manager for Cullors’s personal LLC, Janaya and Patrisse Consulting. He is also the chief financial officer for Trap Heals, an art company led by the father of Cullors’s only child, Damon Turner. Both Trap Heals and Janaya and Patrisse Consulting have received significant payments from Cullors’s activist groups, including BLM.

Cullors posted videos that appeared to be from the mansion on her Youtube channel. That channel has now been set to private, but here’s an archived video of Cullors, co-founder Alicia Garza, and former Los Angeles BLM official Melina Abdullah which the Daily Mail says appears to have been taken outside of the mansion in 2021, marking the one-year anniversary of George Floyd/”Freedom Summer,” with drinks (what looks like champagne) and a spread of food.

Sean Kevin Campbell of New York Magazine notes that the property is “more than 6,500 square feet, has half a dozen bedrooms and bathrooms, a pool and bungalow, soundstage, and an outdoor fireplace made of Italian marble, among numerous other luxuries.”

Do they have an understanding of what that looks like, in addition to whatever legal issues there might be?

This is on top of the mansion that they bought in Toronto for $6.3 million. We’ve also reported on the multiple real estate purchases by co-founder Patrisse Cullors including a mansion in Los Angeles for $1.4 million. BLM claims that no BLM money went to the purchase of that Cullors’ home.

BLM has also gotten into trouble in recent months for its failure to properly report how much it took in since 2020. They shut down their fundraising after they were threatened by California and Washington, and they are out of compliance in several other states as well.

New York Magazine asked BLM what they were using the mansion for — what was the justification for buying it?

According to the magazine, they acquired an internal strategy memo of the leaders talking about how to deal with the questions about the house ranging from “Can we kill the story?” to “Our angle — needs to be to deflate ownership of the property.” They discussed saying they were using it as a “safe house” for the leaders, but there were “holes in the security story” because of the videos showing the house on Cullors’ Youtube channel.

They finally appear to have settled on a position.

In an emailed statement on April 1, Shalomyah Bowers, a BLMGNF board member, said that the organization bought Campus “with the intention for it to serve as housing and studio space for recipients of the Black Joy Creators Fellowship.” The fellowship, which “provides recording resources and dedicated space for Black creatives to launch content online and in real life focused on abolition, healing justice, urban agriculture and food justice, pop culture, activism, and politics,” was announced the following morning.

But as the magazine notes, if that was their aim, “relatively little content has been produced there over the course of 17 months.”

Campbell said that they were trying to “investigate” journalists” including him after he questioned them.

 

Talk about a bad look for an organization that already is facing a lot of questions.

Cullors use shown on her personal Youtube could be an IRS violation, Paul Kamenar, an attorney for the watchdog group the National Legal and Policy Center. “It appears that BLMGNF’s purchase and use of the house by Cullors and other insiders violate the IRS rule prohibiting the use of nonprofit assets for private benefit as well as self-dealing.”

According to New York Magazine, they’ve also hired Democratic lawyer Marc Elias to help out with filing issues.

Can we say what a mess this is — how it needs a full investigation to figure out where all the money has gone? And why would anyone at this point donate to them?

But perhaps no one has delivered a better satirical take on all this than the Babylon Bee, featuring our own fabulous Kira Davis. This says it all.

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