Fueled by millions from celebrity backers – how BLM race activists created $12m property portfolio

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Fueled by millions from celebrity backers – how BLM race activists created $12m property portfolio

Black Lives Matter has plunged into a battle to stay afloat despite millions in donations from celebrities – and a $73million handout from Silicon Val

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Black Lives Matter has plunged into a battle to stay afloat despite millions in donations from celebrities – and a $73million handout from Silicon Valley Bank before its collapse.

Co-founder Patrisse Cullors’ splashed out more than $12million on luxury properties for the foundation before her resignation in 2021.

But the group defended the ever-expanding portfolio, saying they would ‘increase transparency’ but would not give much more detail over a sprawling $6million 6,500-square-foot Studio City compound in Southern California.

At the height of the protests over the death of George Floyd in May 2020, celebrities were quick to donate millions to the cause, as well as the now-collapsed SVB.

Since the financial disclosure obtained by The Washington Free Beacon, showing the perilous state of BLM’s Global Network Foundation, there has been a rise in pressure for the charity to reveal where the funding was spent.

Former Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors stepped down as executive director of the organization amid controversy over her property portfolio

Former Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors stepped down as executive director of the organization amid controversy over her property portfolio

Former Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors stepped down as executive director of the organization amid controversy over her property portfolio 

At the height of the protests over the death of George Floyd in May 2020, celebrities were quick to donate millions to the cause

At the height of the protests over the death of George Floyd in May 2020, celebrities were quick to donate millions to the cause

At the height of the protests over the death of George Floyd in May 2020, celebrities were quick to donate millions to the cause

Financial records show they are risking going bankrupt after running a $8.5million deficit and saw the value of its investment accounts drop by nearly $10 million, with fundraising down 88% year-on-year.

DailyMail.com looks into the millions donated by celebrities and other good causes – and details of Cullors $12million luxury property portfolio:

Who were the celebrities who donated millions to BLM? 

Dozens of famous faces, including Ariana Grande, Halsey and Cole Sprouse, attended protests, with Watermelon Sugar singer Harry Styles marching and donating thousands to BLM.

Chrissy Teigen was amongst the first to donate to people who took to the streets, pledging $200k as her husband John Legend, announced that he would also be giving money to the charity.

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds pledged $200k, with comedian and director Jordan Peele announcing he would give $1million to them.

Actress Jennifer Anniston handed over $1million, with former WWE star John Cena giving $1million and Canadian singer The Weeknd gave $200k.

Angelina Jolie also donated $200,000, while Justin Bieber, Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen DeGeneres all pledged donations to the foundation but did not disclose the full amounts.

Watermelon Sugar singer Harry Styles marched in protests and donated thousands to BLM following George Floyd's death

Watermelon Sugar singer Harry Styles marched in protests and donated thousands to BLM following George Floyd's death

Watermelon Sugar singer Harry Styles marched in protests and donated thousands to BLM following George Floyd’s death

Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston

John Cena

John Cena

Actress Jennifer Aniston and former WWE star John Cena both handed over $1million each to the foundation

Beauty mogul Kylie Jenner announced that her cosmetics brand had donated to several organizations, and encouraged others to do the same.

The Korean pop band BTS donated $1 million to the Black Lives Matter organization, saying they ‘stand against racial discrimination’.

Rock band Paramore announced that they would pledge a total of $25,000 across Black Lives Matter Nashville, Campaign Zero and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Rihanna’s beauty brand Fenty announced it was pledging money to three organizations and encouraged its followers to stand up and fight back against racism – though it didn’t state how much she donated.

Mayim Bialik and Jim Parsons joined together with the cast, crew and producers of Call Me Kat, to donate to the city of Louisville, Kentucky’s Community Bail Fund to help those arrested in recent protests.

Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and his wife Brandi gave $5,000 to Black Lives Matter DC.

Chris Evans, who plays Marvel’s Captain America, said he had donated and retweeted a video of police mistreating protestors, but did not specify the amount.

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds pledged $200k, with comedian and director Jordan Peele announcing he would give $1million

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds pledged $200k, with comedian and director Jordan Peele announcing he would give $1million

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds pledged $200k, with comedian and director Jordan Peele announcing he would give $1million 

Chrissy Teigen was amongst the first to donate to people who took to the streets, pledging $200k with her husband John Legend

Chrissy Teigen was amongst the first to donate to people who took to the streets, pledging $200k with her husband John Legend

Chrissy Teigen was amongst the first to donate to people who took to the streets, pledging $200k with her husband John Legend

Basketball star Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand pledged to give $100 million over the next ten years to ‘organizations dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education.’

The organization in February 2021 said it had taken in more than $90 million in 2020 and still had $60 million on hand.

Last year, it was down to $42 million, while the Free Beacon reports BLM has now spent two-thirds of the $90 million cash it had to hand.

In May last year BLM told AP that they had invested in stocks about a third of the $90 million it received as donations amid racial justice protests in 2020. 

Inside BLM’s $12million luxury property portfolio 

Cullors established Black Lives Matter with co-founders Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi in 2013, and describes herself as a Marxist.

Last year the foundation was hit with increasing federal pressure after Cullors was accused of misusing donated funds.

Cullors was also hit with widespread criticism for spending her millions on the slew of lavish homes – after documents and internal communications revealed that some of the properties were handled in ways that ‘blur boundaries’.

There were questions raised as to if there was a crossing of the line between charitable use and those that would benefit some of the organization’s leaders.

It was revealed that Cullors owns four residential properties in upscale – and predominantly white – California and Georgia neighborhoods 

Cullors shared a video of her enjoying a ritzy brunch outside one of the luxury estate’s with fellow officials Alicia Garza and Melina Abdullah, who have both since left the organization.

Cullors (not pictured) enjoyed a ritzy brunch outside the estate with fellow officials Alicia Garza and Melina Abdullah, who have both since left the organization

Cullors (not pictured) enjoyed a ritzy brunch outside the estate with fellow officials Alicia Garza and Melina Abdullah, who have both since left the organization

Cullors (not pictured) enjoyed a ritzy brunch outside the estate with fellow officials Alicia Garza and Melina Abdullah, who have both since left the organization

The sprawling 6,500-square-foot compound includes a soundstage, seven bedrooms and bathrooms as well as a swimming pool

The sprawling 6,500-square-foot compound includes a soundstage, seven bedrooms and bathrooms as well as a swimming pool

The sprawling 6,500-square-foot compound includes a soundstage, seven bedrooms and bathrooms as well as a swimming pool 

In 2021, sources claimed that Cullors had been searching for a sprawling condo in the Bahamas –  in the same beach-front resort where Tiger Woods and Justin Timberlake have homes. 

Cullors vigorously denied that the group had purchased property on the islands, which are priced between $5million to $20million.

In October, the activist signed ‘a multi-platform’ deal with Warner Bros. Television Group to help produce content for ‘black voices who have been historically marginalized.’ 

The properties are a far cry from how Cullors says she grew up –  in a housing project less than a mile from the affluent and largely white neighborhood of Sherman Oaks.

Cullors described reports of her properties as ‘right-wing bullying’ and claimed the homes were purchased with the financial windfall she received from her speaking and book deals and not from the $90million donations raised by BLM in 2020.

Hawk Newsome, the head of Black Lives Matter Greater New York City, which is not affiliated with Khan-Cullors’ Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, called for ‘an independent investigation’ to find out how the global network spends its money.

Studio City – $6m

In October 2020 BLM spent nearly $6 million in donated funds on a luxurious estate in Studio City, an upscale Los Angeles neighborhood.

The purchase, which was an all-cash deal, closed five months after George Floyd’s murder sparked widespread donations and national protests.

The sprawling 6,500-square-foot compound includes a soundstage, seven bedrooms and bathrooms as well as a swimming pool.

It also has a sound stage, music studio, pool, and parking for more than 20 cars — and was secretly bought by a shell company connected to BLM.

Fully upgraded and renovated, the kitchen offers premium Thermador appliances, a wine fridge and a stone-topped island.

Cullors issued a statement denying she used the $6 million LA property for personal purposes but then had to backtrack and admitted to AP that she had used the compound for purposes that were not strictly business.

The purchase, which was an all-cash deal, closed five months after George Floyd's murder sparked widespread donations and national protests

The purchase, which was an all-cash deal, closed five months after George Floyd's murder sparked widespread donations and national protests

The purchase, which was an all-cash deal, closed five months after George Floyd’s murder sparked widespread donations and national protests 

It also has a sound stage, music studio, pool, and parking for more than 20 cars — and was secretly bought by a shell company connected to BLM

It also has a sound stage, music studio, pool, and parking for more than 20 cars — and was secretly bought by a shell company connected to BLM

It also has a sound stage, music studio, pool, and parking for more than 20 cars — and was secretly bought by a shell company connected to BLM 

Fully upgraded and renovated, the kitchen offers premium Thermador appliances, a wine fridge and a stone-topped island

Fully upgraded and renovated, the kitchen offers premium Thermador appliances, a wine fridge and a stone-topped island

Fully upgraded and renovated, the kitchen offers premium Thermador appliances, a wine fridge and a stone-topped island 

Toronto mansion – $6.3m

Also in 2020, the group purchased a Toronto-based 10,000-square-foot downtown property for the equivalent of $6.3 million.

The former headquarters of the Canadian communist party was named the Wildseed Centre for Art and Activism by Canadian BLM members who said it was purchased using cash.

It was part of an $8 million ‘out of country grant’ in North America, to conduct ‘activities to educate and support black communities, and to purchase and renovate the property for charitable use.’

The group said it planned to use the space as its main office in Canada, and it is unclear where the remaining $1.7 million ‘out of country grant’ went.

Cullors admitted that she threw two parties at the swanky compound — a birthday bash for her son and a soiree to celebrate President Joe Biden’s presidential win in 2020.

Tax filings show that she paid back BLM $390 for ‘the use of real estate.’

The former headquarters of the Canadian communist party was named the Wildseed Centre for Art and Activism by Canadian BLM members who said it was purchased using cash

The former headquarters of the Canadian communist party was named the Wildseed Centre for Art and Activism by Canadian BLM members who said it was purchased using cash

The former headquarters of the Canadian communist party was named the Wildseed Centre for Art and Activism by Canadian BLM members who said it was purchased using cash 

Malibu – $1.4m

Cullors bought the three-bedroom and three-bath barn-style property in March 2021, for $1.4million.

She moved to the ritzy LA neighborhood of Topanga Canyon –  in LA’s well-known ‘hippy enclave’ – after paying for her new home in cash, under an LLC, and has spent thousands on renovations.

Her 2,380 square-foot appear to include a newly fitted sauna and plunge pool, as well as a children’s slide and trampoline.

Exclusive pictures obtained by DailyMail.com in October show a $35,000 fence erected around the property, as well as a new firepit.

The property features ‘soaring ceilings, skylights and plenty of windows’ with canyon views and includes two houses on a quarter-acre.

Cullors bought the three-bedroom and three-bath barn-style property in March 2021, for $1.4million

Cullors bought the three-bedroom and three-bath barn-style property in March 2021, for $1.4million

Cullors bought the three-bedroom and three-bath barn-style property in March 2021, for $1.4million 

Her 2,380 square-foot appear to include a newly fitted sauna and plunge pool, as well as a children's slide and trampoline

Her 2,380 square-foot appear to include a newly fitted sauna and plunge pool, as well as a children's slide and trampoline

Her 2,380 square-foot appear to include a newly fitted sauna and plunge pool, as well as a children’s slide and trampoline

Inglewood – $800k

She later bought a three-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom home in Inglewood for $510,000 in 2021.

The property is now worth nearly $800,000, and Cullors added her wife, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter in Canada, to the deed in a family trust last year.

The couple married in 2016.

The property is now worth nearly $800,000, and Cullors added her wife, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter in Canada, to the deed in a family trust last year

The property is now worth nearly $800,000, and Cullors added her wife, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter in Canada, to the deed in a family trust last year

The property is now worth nearly $800,000, and Cullors added her wife, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter in Canada, to the deed in a family trust last year

South LA – $590k

In 2018, Cullors purchased a four-bedroom home in South Los Angeles, in a multi-ethnic neighborhood.

She paid $590,000 for the 1,725-square-foot home, although the price has since climbed to $720,000, according to public records.

In 2018, Cullors purchased a four-bedroom home in South Los Angeles, in a multi-ethnic neighborhood

In 2018, Cullors purchased a four-bedroom home in South Los Angeles, in a multi-ethnic neighborhood

In 2018, Cullors purchased a four-bedroom home in South Los Angeles, in a multi-ethnic neighborhood

Georgia – $415k

Cullors and her wife purchased a fourth property in 2020, a ‘custom ranch’ on 3.2 rural acres in Conyers featuring a private airplane hangar with a studio apartment above it.

They also have use of a 2,500-foot ‘paved/grass’ community runway that can accommodate small airplanes.

The three-bedroom, two-bath Peach State retreat, 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.

It was purchased in January 2020 for $415,000, two years after the publication of Khan-Cullors’ best-selling memoir, ‘When They Call You a Terrorist.’

They also have use of a 2,500-foot 'paved/grass' community runway that can accommodate small airplanes in Conyers, Georgia

They also have use of a 2,500-foot 'paved/grass' community runway that can accommodate small airplanes in Conyers, Georgia

They also have use of a 2,500-foot ‘paved/grass’ community runway that can accommodate small airplanes in Conyers, Georgia

How much money did BLM co-founder pay family members to work for the foundation? 

Paul Kamenar, an attorney for the National Legal and Policy Center watchdog group, accused Cullors of ‘keeping the funds in the family’.

He said: ‘While Patrisse Cullors was forced to resign due to charges of using BLM’s funds for her personal use, it looks like she’s still keeping it all in the family.’

Cullers told Into America podcast that the ‘white guilt money’ that was donated has been ‘weaponized’ against her following the flood of cash and the foundation having no infrastructure to handle it. 

Despite the financial controversy and scrutiny, BLM GNF continued to hire relatives of Cullors and several board members, according to their tax returns.

Her brother, Paul Cullors, set up two companies which were paid $1.6 million providing ‘professional security services’ for Black Lives Matter in 2022.

The previous year the companies received $840,000 – though he has no background in security and was previously a graffiti artist.

He was also one of the foundations only two paid employee’s during the year, collecting a $126,000 salary as ‘head of security’ on top of his consulting fees.

Cullors, 38, came under fire last year for a slew of high-profile property purchases. She resigned after facing backlash from critics and supporters

Cullors, 38, came under fire last year for a slew of high-profile property purchases. She resigned after facing backlash from critics and supporters

Cullors, 38, came under fire last year for a slew of high-profile property purchases. She resigned after facing backlash from critics and supporters

Despite the financial controversy and scrutiny, BLM GNF continued to hire relatives of Cullors and several board members, according to their tax returns

Despite the financial controversy and scrutiny, BLM GNF continued to hire relatives of Cullors and several board members, according to their tax returns

Despite the financial controversy and scrutiny, BLM GNF continued to hire relatives of Cullors and several board members, according to their tax returns

A consulting firm run by Shalomyah Bowers (pictured), who is BLM's board secretary and has previously served as deputy executive director, was paid more than $2.1 million for providing the organization with operational support

A consulting firm run by Shalomyah Bowers (pictured), who is BLM's board secretary and has previously served as deputy executive director, was paid more than $2.1 million for providing the organization with operational support

A consulting firm run by Shalomyah Bowers (pictured), who is BLM’s board secretary and has previously served as deputy executive director, was paid more than $2.1 million for providing the organization with operational support

Cullors herself claimed to AP that she hired him because registered security firms would bring on ex-police officers and could not be trusted – because of the groups opposition to police brutality.

Tax filings also revealed that BLM paid a company owned by Damon Turner, the father of Cullors’ child, nearly $970,000 to help ‘produce live events’ and provide other ‘creative services’ in 2021.

Danielle Edwards, who runs a consultancy firm, New Impact, was hired by BLM GNF. Her brother Raymond Howard was a member of BLM's board

Danielle Edwards, who runs a consultancy firm, New Impact, was hired by BLM GNF. Her brother Raymond Howard was a member of BLM's board

Danielle Edwards, who runs a consultancy firm, New Impact, was hired by BLM GNF. Her brother Raymond Howard was a member of BLM’s board

They also revealed that they had just two paid employees with salaries – Paul Cullors and Kailee Scales, who received $124,702 and $114,625, respectively.

Documents also showed that in just one year, they spent $76,000 on travel and have an estimated 82,600 volunteers.

Cullors reimbursed BLM $73,523 for a charter flight for foundation-related travel, which the organization says she took in 2021 out of concern for COVID-19 and security threats. 

A consulting firm run by BLM board member Shalomyah Bowers was paid $2.1M for providing the organization with operational support in 2021. 

Bowers, who took over from Cullors when she resigned, also benefitted handsomely from the group: in 2022, his consultancy firm was paid $1.7 million for management and consulting services, the Free Beacon reported.

He and the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, was accused in September of stealing more than $10 million from the group in an explosive lawsuit filed by other organizers in the movement.

A lawsuit filed in Los Angeles said that the board member used the group as a ‘personal piggy bank’. 

He has not commented on the allegations but submitted a declaration of support in the case for BLMGNF. DailyMail.com contacted his attorneys for a comment. 

BLM paid  a company owned by Damon Turner (left), the father of co-founder Patrisse Cullors' (right) child, nearly $970,000 to help 'produce live events' and provide other 'creative services'

BLM paid  a company owned by Damon Turner (left), the father of co-founder Patrisse Cullors' (right) child, nearly $970,000 to help 'produce live events' and provide other 'creative services'

BLM paid  a company owned by Damon Turner (left), the father of co-founder Patrisse Cullors’ (right) child, nearly $970,000 to help ‘produce live events’ and provide other ‘creative services’

Her brother, Paul Cullors, (left)  set up two companies which were paid $1.6 million providing 'professional security services' for Black Lives Matter in 2022

Her brother, Paul Cullors, (left)  set up two companies which were paid $1.6 million providing 'professional security services' for Black Lives Matter in 2022

Her brother, Paul Cullors, (left)  set up two companies which were paid $1.6 million providing ‘professional security services’ for Black Lives Matter in 2022

The sister of former Black Lives Matter board member Raymond Howard was also employed in a lucrative role as a consultant.

Danielle Edwards’s firm, New Impact Partners, was paid $1.1 million for consulting services in 2022, the Free Beacon said.

BLM GNF also agreed to pay an additional $600,000 to an unidentified former board member’s consulting firm ‘in connection with a contract dispute’, according to tax documents. 

The non-profit group ran an $8.5 million deficit, and its investment accounts fell in value by nearly $10 million in the most recent tax year, financial disclosures show.

Cullors did admit that the group was ill-prepared to handle the tsunami of donations that poured in as it shot to international prominence following the May 2020 murder of George Floyd.

It is not known if the group paid out lucrative contracting fees to Cullors’ friends and family past June 2022, when a new board of directors was brought in.

The board is now led by nonprofit adviser Cicley Gay, who has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy three times since 2005.

Gay was ordered by a court to attend financial management lessons, and at the time of her appointment in April 2022 had more than $120,000 in unpaid debt.

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