The Daily Telegraph

BLM turns on leader over $10m ‘personal piggy bank’

- By Jamie Johnson US CORRESPOND­ENT

A BLACK Lives Matter leader has been accused of embezzling $10 million (£8.7 million) in donations, according to a lawsuit by grassroots members.

Shalomyah Bowers was branded a “rogue administra­tor, a middle man turned usurper” in court filings, amid claims he used contributi­ons to the group as “a personal piggy bank”.

Mr Bowers is the leader of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, which has been the subject of investigat­ions by the Internal Revenue Service and state attorneys general.

The lawsuit, filed by Black Lives Matter Grassroots says: “While BLM leaders and movement workers were on the street risking their lives, Mr Bowers remained in his cushy offices devising a scheme of fraud and misreprese­ntation to break the implied-in-fact contract between donors and BLM.”

Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is an administra­tive organisati­on that raises funds to distribute to Black Lives Matter Grassroots.

Walter Mosley, representi­ng the plaintiffs, alleges that Mr Bowers engaged in self-dealing, giving grants to his own consultant firm and charging exorbitant fees reaching eight figures.

Mr Bowers and his group denied all claims of financial misconduct and hit back at those suing him, saying they had fallen victim “to the carceral logic and social violence that fuels the legal system” in taking legal action against him. This is not the first time the group’s finances have come under scrutiny.

In 2020 it raised $90million following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapoli­s police officer Derek Chauvin.

This year, it was alleged that the group’s leaders splashed out $6million of donations on a luxury mansion in California. The 6,500 sq ft home has more than half a dozen bedrooms and bathrooms, multiple fireplaces, a soundstage, a pool and parking for more than 20 cars.

BLM officials tried to keep its existence a secret, a report has claimed. When pressed on the purpose of the house – known as “the campus” – an internal note was circulated exploring ways to “kill the story”, the New York magazine reported.

The BLM Global Network Foundation later said that it had “always planned” to disclose the house in legal filings this May and that it does not serve as anyone’s personal residence.

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