Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors has admitted to throwing two parties at the organization’s swanky $6 million Los Angeles mansion — despite previously suggesting she’d never used the property for personal gain.
The 38-year-old told the Associated Press on Monday that she hosted her son’s birthday party and a gathering to celebrate President Biden’s inauguration at the six-bedroom property early last year.
BLM faced a torrent of criticism and backlash last month when it publicly emerged that the organization had “secretly” purchased the LA mansion — which boasts a home with six bedrooms and bathrooms, a swimming pool, a soundstage and office space — back in 2020.
In January 2021, Cullors said she was seeking refuge at the property because she’d been receiving threats on her life. During that time, she said she hosted a Biden inauguration party for about 15 people, including local BLM chapter members and other prominent supporters of the organization.
Cullors said she also threw a private birthday party for her son at the property in March 2021 — and she intended to pay a rental fee to BLM.
BLM confirmed it had billed Cullors for the birthday party and was reviewing its policies to prevent such use in the future.
Cullors acknowledged in her AP interview that she should never have used the compound in that way.
“I look back at that and think, that probably wasn’t the best idea,” she said.
When the purchase of the luxurious, $6 million property first emerged in a New York magazine report, the organization reportedly tried to “kill” the story, according to internal BLM memos. One strategy memo on how to deal with the story reportedly suggested it might be used as an “influencer house” where artists can congregate.
The article revealed that the residence was purchased by Dyane Pascall two weeks after BLM received $66.5 million from its fiscal sponsor. Pascall is the financial manager for an LLC operated by Cullors and her spouse, Janaya Khan — Janaya and Patrisse Consulting.
Cullors, at the time, slammed the report about the home as a “racist and sexist” attack on the movement.
“The idea that [the foundation] received millions of dollars and then I hid those dollars in my bank account is absolutely false,” she told AP. “That’s a false narrative. It’s impacted me personally and professionally, that people would accuse me of stealing from black people.”
She doubled down by saying no one else in leadership ever misused BLM’s millions of dollars in donations — despite allegations of financial improprieties.
In the interview, Cullors admitted BLM wasn’t prepared to deal with the influx of donations in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the summer of 2020 and that the organization was slow to build the necessary framework.
“On paper, it looks crazy,” she said. “We use this term in our movement a lot, which is we’re building the plane while flying it. I don’t believe in that anymore. The only regret I have with BLM is wishing that we could have paused for one to two years, to just not do any work and just focus on the infrastructure.”
The organization has only recently caught up with its financial filings in California after BLM was declared delinquent in submitting required charity disclosures from 2020.
A 990 filing submitted to the IRS for January through June 2020 listed Cullors as an uncompensated executive director and the foundation’s only employee. At that time, BLM reported no revenue, assets, contributions or expenses.
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