California judge rejects $10 million lawsuit against BLM leader

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Bowick ruled that "BLM Grassroots failed to establish that they were entitled to any donated funds."

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
A California judge has thrown out a $10 million lawsuit against Black Lives Matter Inc., the New York Post reports.

Melina Abdullah, the founder of BLM Grassroots, filed a lawsuit last year that accused the leader of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Shalomyah Bowers, of stealing over $10 million from the nonprofit and using the organization as a "personal piggy bank."

The Black Lives Matter Global Network, or BLMGNF, is the official parent organization of all of BLM groups, including Black Lives Matter Grassroots, and has raised over $90 million since May of 2020.

On Thursday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Bowick ruled that "BLM Grassroots failed to establish that they were entitled to any donated funds," attorney Byron McLain for BLMGNF told The Post.

Abdullah claimed in the lawsuit that her group, which consists of two dozen BLM chapters nationwide, was entitled to $10 million from Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, and alleged that Bowers enriched himself by billing his consulting company for millions of dollars worth of business.

Abdullah told reporters on Thursday that judge's verdict left her "stunned and dismayed" and plans to appeal, according to The Post.

Bowers' lawyers called the lawsuit "frivolous" and said that Abdullah had filed it to carry out a personal attack against Bowers.

“Melina Abdullah and her colleagues spent over a year tearing down Shalomyah’s name, reputation and character in an ill-fated ego-driven attempt to seize control of one of the most prominent charitable organizations supporting black empowerment,” a statement sent to The Post read.

According to federal filings, BLM Inc. received $90 million in donations over the last few years, but recorded a loss of $9 million in 2022.

Bowers was hired by Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors in 2020, and took over the foundation after Cullors resigned amid scrutiny surrounding multiple multi-million real estate purchases.

Black Lives Matter Inc. has been involved in a plethora of controversies over the last few years due to the organization's history of shady finances and spending habits.

Patrisse Cullors stepped down from the BLM organization in May 2021 after a real-estate scandal emerged revealing she spent $3.2 million on four different homes. Soon after more reports started to emerge of Black Lives Matter leadership using company funds for personal luxury.

In March 2022, two Boston BLM leaders were charged in an 18-count federal indictment concerning three separate schemes: defrauding donors, illegally collecting about $100,000 in pandemic unemployment benefits, and lying on a mortgage application.

In April 2022, reports emerged that Cullors and BLM leadership bought a $6 million property and circuitously moved money around a litany of LLCs in order to hide the transaction. The same month, Cullors described the routine, basic form 990 tax document non-profits must fill out as 'unsafe.'

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