Sacramento, CA – California told Black Lives Matter on Monday that it was in danger of losing its tax exempt status with the state if it didn’t file its financials and threatened to hold the group’s leadership financially liable.
The California Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter to Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) on Jan. 31 that threatened to hold its organizers personally liable if they failed to provide the group’s financial records in the next 60 days, according to the Washington Examiner which obtained a copy of the notice.
“The organization BLACK LIVES MATTER GLOBAL NETWORK FOUNDATION, INC. is delinquent with The Registry of Charitable Trusts for failing to submit required annual report(s),” the letter read.
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.
The letter warned that BLMGNF was facing fines for “each month or partial month for which the report(s) are delinquent.”
California DOJ’s letter said that the fines would have to come out of organizer’s pockets, the Washington Examiner reported.
“Charitable assets cannot be used to pay these avoidable costs,” the letter read. “Accordingly, directors, trustees, officers and return preparers responsible for failure to timely file the above-described report(s) are personally liable for payment of all penalties, interest and other costs incurred to restore exempt status.”
The problem is that nobody knows who is in charge of Black Lives Matter’s national organization at this point, the Washington Examiner reported.
Patrice Khan-Cullors, the BLMGNF co-founder whose name was on the paperwork, resigned as executive director of the group in May of 2021.
And the Los Angeles address that was listed on BLMGNF’s tax forms is incorrect, according to the Washington Examiner.
Khan-Cullors, a self-proclaimed Marxist, resigned under a cloud of allegations of financial malfeasance which arose after she had spent $3.2 million on new homes for herself in Georgia and Los Angeles.
She denied having used Black Lives Matter donations to buy the ostentatious properties but ended up resigning soon when BLMGNF donors started asking questions.
Activists Makani Themba and Monifa Bandele allegedly took over the running of BLMGNF when Khan-Cullors resigned, but then they suddenly quit in September of 2021, the New York Post reported.
They later put out a statement that said they were never in control of the organization.
BLMGNF raised more than $90 million in 2020 and had $60 million left in hand as of February of 2021, the New York Post reported.
Public filings showed that Thousand Currents transferred more than $66 million in cash to BLMGNF in October of 2020 when the grassroots fundraising organization broke with the group while Khan-Cullors was still in charge.
Themba and Bandele told the New York Post they had no idea who was managing Black Lives Matter’s money now.
Thanks to everyone for your support. pic.twitter.com/E268EUpVo4
— Makani Themba (@Makani_Themba) September 3, 2021
A Virginia-based watchdog group has also raised ethical and legal flags about the BLMGNF money, the New York Post reported.
“Unfortunately, this appears to be an epic abuse of public trust in which an entire movement’s resources are being squandered on the whims and financial mismanagement of one person and their inner circle of friends and family,” Tom Anderson, the director of the Government Integrity Project of the National and Legal Policy Center, said.
CharityWatch Executive Director Laurie Styron likened Black Lives Matter to “a giant ghost ship full of treasure drifting in the night with no captain, no discernible crew, and no clear direction,” the Washington Examiner reported.
At the end of 2020, 10 local Black Lives Matter chapters accused the national organization and Khan-Cullors of cutting them out of the process and failing to distribute millions of dollars in donations that had been donated for the purpose of local grassroots activism.
The chapters signed a statement that demanded financial transparency by BLMGN, accountability by those running things at the top, and a voice in the decisions made about what to do with the contributions made to the organization, FOX News reported.
The signatories included Black Lives Matter groups from Philadelphia, DC, Chicago, Oklahoma City, San Diego, New Jersey, Denver, Indianapolis, the Hudson Valley, and Vancouver, Washington.
The statement alleged that the national organization co-founded by Khan-Cullors had taken in millions of dollars in contributions meant to be shared with local chapters, but claimed that the money has not made it back down to the grassroots level.
Khan-Cullors was the sole board member of BLMGNF, according to the statement.
The group’s founder pledged to focus on “economic justice” in 2021 and said the organization would use the funds that had been raised to build out the organization.