The lawsuit claims that a Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation misappropriated at least $10 million in donations, using the money for his own personal purposes.
Black Lives Matter leads have filed a lawsuit against an executive of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, or GNF, accusing him of embezzling an estimated $10 million in donations.
According to The Hill, an attorney from BLM Grassroots—a separate organization—filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles District Court, naming GNF and GNF board member Shalomyah Bowers as defendants.
Bowers’ consulting firm, adds The Hill, is also listed as a defendant.
“Enough is enough,” BLM Grassroots attorney Walter Mosley told NBC News. “The organization can’t effectively organize and continue to do the work that it historically has done without its tools and resources.”
The complaint seeks financial relief and a court order preventing GNF from continuing to use the “Black Lives Matter” label.
Broadly, the lawsuit asserts that Bowers—condemned in the filing as a “turned usurper”—has charged fees for BLM donations, which he then used for his own personal purposes.
“When more than 300 movement leaders, as well as BLM Founders, insisted that he resigned from GNF, he continued to betray the public trust by self-dealing and breaching his fiduciary duties,” the lawsuit states.
The Hill reports that Melina Abdullah, a founder of the Black Lives Matter—Los Angeles chapter, announced the lawsuit in a press conference held last week.
“Global Network Foundation has taken away from the people who built it,” Abdullah said. “Global Network Foundation is now led by a highly paid consultant who paid himself upwards of $2 million in a single year.”
Abdullah said that Patrisse Cullors, another Black Lives Matter leader, had created a transition plan to transfer control of the GNF to Grassroots.
However, GNF later locked Cullors out of its social media accounts and refused further attempts at communication.
The Global Network Foundation has since denied the allegations, saying it is “disappointed and dismayed at the false narrative” propagated by Abdullah, who GNF claims take $10,000-per-month stipends.
“We as Black people and Black-led organizations cannot continue spending all of our precious time and energy fighting and tearing each other down,” the GNF said in its statement. “We have no desire and little time to put private business out in the street. However, Melina Abdullah, BLMGR, and its leadership seem intent on fighting publicly about their desire to control the entirety of Black Lives Matter.”
The Hill notes that GNF’s financial resources have attracted scrutiny in recent months, with observers finding that a “large chunk” of the $90 million raised in donations in 2020 had effectively disappeared.
Similarly, New York Magazine reported that Black Lives Matter executives had purchased a $6 million home with money that had been donated to the Global Network Foundation.