According to a new report on Monday, Black Lives Matters purchased a $6 million Southern California house from donations last year, adding to the three other houses in the LA area group leaders have bought since last year.
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According to New York Magazine, the $6 million house had not originally been disclosed in the initial report of $3.2 million in houses purchased in LA and Atlanta by BLM leaders. The 6,500 square foot, seven bedroom house was purchased with Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) funds in October 2020 by Dyane Pascall shortly after over $66 million came in from sponsors that September.
The house was immediately linked to BLM leadership by Pascall being the financial manager for the Janaya and Patrisse Consulting Firm. The firm itself is owned by BLM co-founder Patrisse Kahn-Cullors and her spouse Janaya Kahn. Initially hidden, group leaders had been attempting to say that the house, known internally as “Campus” would be used for either a safe house for BLM leaders when threatened or as a space for artists and influencers. However, when asked about the house last month by journalists, BLM officials tried to downplay the cost and bury the story in the coming days. The report came out anyway on Monday despite their efforts.
BLM has been facing growing scrutiny in the aftermath of the George Floyd protests in June of 2020. Initially founded in 2013 in response to George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin, BLM quickly grew in the mid to late 2010’s following numerous other police shooting deaths of African Americans, as well as other external factors such as the election of Donald Trump in 2016 and an increase in voter ID laws in numerous states. In 2020, BLM faced it’s biggest moment in helping orchestrate protests nationwide following the shooting death of George Floyd. Record donations poured in in 2020 and 2021 in response to the protests, as well as BLM’s role in defunding numerous law enforcement agencies until a rise in crime backlash caused many of those de-fundings to stop or are to be reversed soon.
As a result, with a record number of funds going to BLM and BLMGNF, Kahn-Cullors and others proceeded to buy several expensive homes, including the undisclosed $6 million property.
SoCal property latest house bought with BLM donations
Many non-profit experts noted to the Globe on Monday that few, if any, groups the size of BLM made those kinds of purchases in so little time.
“Usually, if a group buys a house, it isn’t a gigantic house like that,” said Mandala Jackson, a non-profit low-income housing coordinator and advisor, to the Globe on Monday. “Houses are usually bought for a singular headquarters or to give back to needy families or something along those lines. Sometimes just the property is bought or donated and a house goes up there, like Habitat for Humanity or Key Club.
“If they had bought one house in strategic locations to serve as a safe house or local headquarters or something, that might be more understandable. Like, one in LA, one in Oakland, one in Atlanta, and so on. But no, four in LA, including one costing $6 million.”
“That kind of money can go to a lot of other things. Legal defense for one, or helping black families avoid evictions or serving as a fund for families who lost the mother or father. But buying a house like that, only months after the protests? Jesus.”
“Some people are very much for BLM and others are against it, and others are mixed towards it for a variety of reasons I really don’t want to get into. But which sounds like the more charitable option? $6 million going to a mansion in LA or $6 million going into trusts or monthly payments for families who lost loved ones and need financial support to stay afloat?”
“Always look into non-profits. If a big percentage goes into administrative costs and they have expensive offices in some high rise you can bet your donation isn’t going to those who need it.”
BLMGNF board member Shalomyah Bowers responded to criticisms, noting that the Campus building had BLM uses in mind and that they had planned to disclose the building next month.
“The organization bought Campus with the intention for it to serve as housing and studio space for recipients of the Black Joy Creators Fellowship, which provides recording resources and dedicated space for Black creatives to launch content online and in real life focused on abolition, healing justice, urban agriculture and food justice, pop culture, activism, and politics,” said Bowers in a statement. “The property was acquired in furtherance of BLM’s mission. The organization always planned to disclose the property on the upcoming 990 due May 15th as part of BLMGNF’s ongoing transparency efforts. BLMGNF has and continues to utilize the space for programming and leadership off-sites. The property does not serve as a personal residence.”
Kahn-Cullors resigned from BLM in May 2021. More investigations into the LA property are expected in the coming months.
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