Black Lives Matter organizational leaders reportedly sued an executive of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (GNF), accusing him of siphoning $10 million in donations from the organization for use as his own “personal piggy bank.”
According to The Hill, Walter Mosley, a lawyer representing BLM Grassroots – a separate entity from GNF – filed the lawsuit Aug. 31 in Los Angeles County Superior Court against GNF and its board member Shalomyah Bowers, as well as his consulting firm.
The complaint accuses Bowers of becoming a “turned usurper” and charging fees for BLM donors, which he then personally used. It seeks financial relief and a court order to halt GNF’s use of the BLM identity.
“When more than 300 movement leaders, as well as BLM Founders, insisted that he resign from GNF,” the complaint reads. “He continued to betray the public trust by self-dealing and breaching his fiduciary duties.”
Last week, a press conference was held to announce the lawsuit.
“Global Network Foundation has been taken away from the people who built it,” Melina Abdullah, a founder of the BLM Los Angeles chapter and a co-director of the BLM Grassroots, said at the presser. “Global Network Foundation is now led by a highly paid consultant who paid himself upwards of $2 million in a single year.”
Additionally, Abdullah noted that BLM founder Patrisse Cullors created a transition plan to switch control of GNF over to BLM grassroots, but GNF allegedly locked her out of social media accounts and is promoting messages she doesn’t agree with.
“We as Black people and Black-led organizations cannot continue spending all of our precious time and energy fighting and tearing each other down,” a statement following the press conference made by the GFN Board of Directors denying the allegations reads. “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.”