Los Angeles, CA – A California congressman is calling for a full U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into the national Black Lives Matter organization after the news broke that the organization purchased a 6,500-square foot, seven bedroom, $6 million Los Angeles mansion.
U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R-California) said the recent revelations about the extravagant home purchase meant it was time to investigate how the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) is using the $90 million it has bragged about raising in 2020, the Daily Mail reported.
The mansion was featured in the background of a YouTube video that showed BLMGNF co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza, and Black Lives Matter Los Angeles founder Melina Abdullah, discussing their activism on the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death, according to Sean Campbell at New York Magazine.
“For me, the hardest moments have been the right-wing-media machine just leveraging literally all its weight against me, against our movement, against BLM the organization,” Cullors said. “I’m some weeks out now from a lot of the noise, so I have more perspective, right? While I was in it, I was in survival mode.”
The co-founder of the national Black Lives Matter movement was referring to allegations that she used BLMGNF donor funds to help pay for new homes she purchased for $3.2 million in Los Angeles and Georgia, New York Magazine reported.
She denied having used Black Lives Matter donations to buy the ostentatious properties but donors continued to question what was happening with the money they had contributed for activism.
The purchase of the $6 million home called “Campus” by the organization’s leadership was not publicly reported and the way the purchase was handled revealed they had hoped to keep its existence a secret, New York Magazine reported.
When that publication began asking questions about it, Black Lives Matters circulated a strategy memo discussing how to deal with the revelation.
Responses ranged from “Can we kill the story?” to “Our angle — needs to be to deflate ownership of the property,” New York Magazine reported.
The memo had bullet points that explained “Campus is part of cultural arm of the org — potentially as an ‘influencer house,’ where abolition+ based content is produced by artists & creatives.”
It also described the property as a “safe house” for organizations leaders who had been threatened, New York Magazine reported.
But the shady way that the group went about acquiring the mansion raised even more eyebrows.
Two weeks after BLMGNF received $66.5 million in contributions in October of 2020, Dyane Pascall bought the property that would become known as “Campus” for $3.1 million in cash, according to the Daily Mail.
Pascall is the financial manager of Janaya and Patrisse Consulting, an LLC owned by Cullors and her wife.
He is also the chief financial officer of Trap Heals, a nonprofit led by the father of Cullors’ child, New York Magazine reported.
Pascall transferred ownership of the mansion less than a week later to a Delaware LLC established by the law firm Perkins Coie, a move that hid the identity of the property’s owner from the public.
Also, BLMGNF paid $5.8 million in cash to Pascall for the property six days after he bought it for nearly $3 million less, the Daily Mail reported.
The organization has not explained how the property increased $2.7 million in value in under a week.
Real estate comparisons showed that the 1936 mansion BLMGNF bought cost over 257 percent more than similar homes in its neighborhood, the Daily Mail reported.
Pascall denied allegations on Thursday about the money he was paid for the mansion, the New York Post reported.
He claimed he couldn’t remember what he was paid.
“No, I did not buy the house for $3.1 million and sell it for $5.8 million. That would be ridiculous,” Pascall told the New York Post.
Property records also show that no property taxes have been paid on the home because BLMGNF has claimed tax-exempt status, the New York Post reported.
But that status is currently in jeopardy because the organization hasn’t filed required tax forms dating back to its inception.
Cullors, a self-proclaimed Marxist, resigned as executive director of BLMGNF in May of 2021 after the allegations of malfeasance arose surrounding the new homes she had purchased, just a few days after she filmed the video with Garza and Abdullah at the $6 million home that donors didn’t know about, according to New York Magazine.
Donors were further outraged when they learned that BLMGNF gave millions of dollars to a Canadian non-profit run by Cullors’ wife to buy a 10,000-square foot mansion in Toronto that once served as the Communist Party’s headquarters.
Public records showed that Cullors’ wife, Janaya Khan, set up a non-profit called M4BJ and purchased the mansion for the equivalent of about $6.3 million (in U.S. dollars) in July of 2021, the New York Post reported.
The money for the venture that would be named the Wildseed Centre for Art and Activism was transferred to M4BJ by BLBGNF.
Questions surrounding who has control of BLMGNF and its considerable assets have swirled since Cullors resigned.
And in February, California told Black Lives Matter that it was in danger of losing its tax exempt status with the state if it didn’t file its financials.
The state also threatened to hold the group’s leadership financially liable.
The state also notified BLMGNF that it was prohibited from “soliciting or disbursing charitable funds” in California until it had turned in its 2020 Form 990 and a host of other overdue financial records, the Washington Examiner reported.
Every organization awarded tax exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must file Form 990 every year unless they have made $200,000 in revenue and have less than $500,000 in assets, according to the Daily Mail.
But according to ProPublica’s database, the Nonprofit Explorer, BLMGFN has never submitted a 990.