The founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Shalomyah Bowers, has been charged with stealing over $10 million in donations for personal use.
According to a lawsuit Black Lives Matter Grassroots has brought against the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, this is the case.
The dispute with Mr. Bowers is referred to in the lawsuit as “a case of a rogue administrator, a middleman, turned usurper, who was hired to collect donations and account for expenditures of Black Lives Matter movement, formally operating as Black Lives Matter Grassroots, Inc. (“BLM”)” in the Los Angeles County Superior – Central District.
The complaint filed by Los Angeles attorney Walter Mosley says that Mr Bowers used Black Lives Matter, or BLM, as his “personal piggy bank” and accuses him of “betray[ing] the public trust by self-dealing and breaching his fiduciary duties.”
The complaint alleges that Mr. Bowers has taken control of Black Lives Matter’s financial and social media accounts, shutting out its founders and most prominent organizers, like Melina Abdullah.
Mr. Bowers acts as the board secretary of Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, the non-profit organization that serves as the movement’s administrative arm.
“Black Lives Matter Grassroots is Black Lives Matter. We were founded in 2013 by dedicated activists, and many of the same people are still doing the work.” Ms. Abdullah said. “Today, we are demanding the return of the resources that rightfully belong to the people and the movement.”
BLM Grassroots also alleges that its Global Network Foundation and Mr. Bowers engaged in dishonest business practices, deliberate misrepresentation, fraud, conversion, and unjust enrichment, all violations of the California Business & Professional Code Section 17200.
The Global Network Foundation dismissed the claims by Ms. Abdullah, saying its board had reached out to Ms. Abdullah for “private mediation or meetings with Melina Abdullah and BLM Grassroots, including and regarding social media policies.”
The organization maintains that all its requests were turned down.
“Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) is here to give light and fight for Black liberation. Make no mistake, the allegations of Melina Abdullah and BLM Grassroots (BLMGR) are false. They are slanderous and devoid of reality,” the organization said in a statement.