BLM Chapters Sue Organization Head over Alleged $10 Million Theft
A lawsuit filed by a coalition of 26 Black Lives Matter (BLM) chapters has accused the organization’s foundation head of “unjust enrichment,” specifically the theft of $10 million in charitable contributions for personal expenditures.
Black Lives Matter Grassroots claims that Shalomyah Bowers, the leader of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, defrauded the local activist groups by siphoning funds away from them.
“The assets that we built, the financial resources, the social media platforms and the name ‘Black Lives Matter’ have been taken from us and are under the control of consultants,” Dr Melina Abdullah, the director of BLM Grassroots and a co-founder of the BLM Los Angeles chapter, said at a recent press conference.
Bowers denied that he engaged in financial misconduct, suggesting that the BLM grassroots network is complicit in systemic racism in launching litigation against him. His consulting firm was allegedly paid two million dollars by the foundation in fiscal year 2020, according to a tax filing.
Lawyer Walter Mosley, representing the plaintiffs in the case, told the Los Angeles Times that Bowers funneled money from the organization to his business and charging astronomical fees in the multi-millions.
“The lawsuit demands that they return the people’s funds and stop impersonating Black Lives Matter,” Mosley said in a statement.
Bowers said the complainants, who named him and the headquarters in the suit, have fallen “victim to the carceral logic and social violence that fuels the legal system.”
“They would rather take the same steps of our white oppressors and utilize the criminal legal system which is propped up by white supremacy (the same system they say they want to dismantle) to solve movement disputes,” the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation’s board of directors, on which Bowers serves, said in a joint statement.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles superior court, has asked for damages and restitution as well as a temporary restraining order to bar the umbrella organization from accessing the BLM accounts and website.