Indianapolis, IN – Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita announced on Thursday that his office had filed a lawsuit against the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) in connection with an ongoing investigation into how the group was using donations raised for activism.
Rokita launched the investigation into what Black Lives Matter was doing with funds donated by Indiana residents in February, WXIN reported.
The lawsuit filed this week seeks compliance with the investigative demand that was previously served on BLMGNF.
Rokita’s office pointed to a BLMGNF 2020 report that said the group had raised more than $90 million in 2020, WXIN reported.
The organization claimed in the report that it had distributed about $21.7 million to 30 local Black Lives Matter organizations and affiliated chapters, including an affiliated chapter in South Bend.
But the attorney general’s office said an IRS filing by BLMGNF for the first half of 2020 claimed the group had zero revenue, expenses, and assets during that time period, according to WXIN.
So Rokita’s office issued a Civil Investigative Demand to BLMGNF to “determine if the organization’s actions constitute a violation of either the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act or the Indiana Nonprofit Corporation Act.”
The state wants Black Lives Matter to provide information and documents relevant to the investigation because the attorney general’s office wants to make sure that money donated in Indiana is being used for the purpose intended, WXIN reported.
“Under Indiana law, failure to comply with the civil investigative demand could result in sanctions against the entity, including barring the entity from any future fundraising in Indiana, among other possible remedies,” the attorney general’s office wrote in a statement.
Rokita called on Indiana residents who may have been affected to file a consumer complaint, WXIN reported.
“There are concerning patterns of behavior from this organization, and we will do what it takes — including this lawsuit — to get to the bottom of it,” the attorney general said.
The South Bend chapter of Black Lives Matter was one of 10 local chapters from across the country that in December of 2020 accused the national organization and co-founder Patrisse Cullors of cutting them out of the process and failing to distribute millions of dollars in donations that were meant for local grassroots activism.
When asked for a statement on the attorney general’s lawsuit, the South Bend chapter pointed reporters to a posted statement titled “No More Lies.”
“The BLM10+ (The original 10 signatories and the other chapters and organizers that stand with us) remain steadfast in our open calls for accountability from the BLM Global Network Foundation (BLMGN) and Patrisse Cullors,” the statement read.
“With no other viable options available, on November 30, 2020 the BLM10 released a public statement calling for accountability from the Network and the affiliated Foundation,” the statement continued. “Following the release of this statement, chapter names were promptly removed from the BLMGN website. As a direct result of the release of our public statement, the demands for accountability grew.”
“Families of those who were lost to police violence spoke out and also demanded accountability, including Michael Brown Sr., Samaria Rice, and Lisa Simpson,” the statement read.
In March of 2021, Michael Brown’s father and other Ferguson-area activists demanded Black Lives Matter’s national organization hand over $20 million to help keep their local movement “strong.”
He accused the national organization of fundraising off his son’s name but failing to invest in local activist organizations.
California told Black Lives Matter to stop fundraising in February and warned the group 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.
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.
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 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 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.