Black Lives Matter Grassroots, a nonprofit group that represents local BLM chapters across the country, accused the BLM Global Network Foundation and its board secretary, Shalomyah Bowers, in a lawsuit Thursday of fraudulently siphoning over $10 million in “fees” to Bowers’s consulting firm. The lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, says Bowers treated the BLM Global Network Foundation as his “personal piggy bank” and has acted as a “rogue administrator” and “middle man turned usurper.”
The BLM Global Network Foundation represents the national BLM movement and was the entity that received over $90 million in the wake of George Floyd’s police killing in the summer of 2020. Bowers is a close associate of BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who resigned from the BLM Global Network Foundation in May 2021 amid scrutiny of her personal real estate purchases.
The lawsuit was announced Thursday at a press conference hosted by BLM-Los Angeles co-founder Melina Abdullah, who accused Bowers of shutting her and other leaders out of social media accounts in March.
Abdullah estimates that the BLM Global Network Foundation’s financial accounts hold in the region of $100 million. She accused the board of directors of “engaging in self dealing, enriching themselves off of the backs of people who put their blood, sweat and tears into this movement.”
The lawsuit accuses Bowers of leading the foundation “into multiple investigations by the Internal Revenue Service and various state attorney generals, blazing a path of irreparable harm to BLM in less than eighteen months,” according to the Los Angeles Times.