By Andrew Kerr
Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation co-founder and executive director Patrisse Cullors, a self-identified “trained Marxist,” raked in upwards of $20,000 a month serving as the chairwoman of a Los Angeles jail reform group in 2019, according to campaign finance records reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Reform LA Jails disbursed a total of $191,000 to Cullors in 2019 through her consulting firm, Janaya and Patrisse Consulting, according to financial records submitted to the California Fair Political Practices Commission. The description for each of the seven reported payments to the Cullors’ firm that year read: “P. Cullors, Principal Officer, Business Owner.”
It’s unclear when exactly Reform LA Jails began paying Cullors through her firm, which is named after the BLM co-founder and her spouse, Janaya Khan. The first payment of $51,000 occurred between January 2019 and the end of June 2019, according to an FPPC report covering that timeframe. The exact date of the payment isn’t disclosed in the report.
Reform LA Jail’s following report, which covered the three-month period starting July 2019 through the end of September 2019, disclosed four payments totaling $60,000 to Cullors’ firm.
Cullors was the only identified manager of Janaya and Patrisse Consulting in its latest report to the California Secretary of State in December.
Reform LA Jails made additional payments of $20,000 and $60,000 to Cullors’ firm between October 2019 and the end of December 2019, an FPPC report covering that timeframe shows.
Cullors is featured prominently on the website for Reform LA Jails, which also goes by Yes On R.
“Our movement — powered by Black Lives Matter, community organizations, and grassroots citizens– collected over 247,000 signatures to put a measure on the LA County March 3, 2020, ballot,” the website states under a picture of Cullors.
Reform LA Jails did not return a request for comment.
The website for Janaya and Patrisse Consulting went offline sometime over the weekend amid reports of Cullors’ real estate buying spree, the DCNF previously reported.
The firm’s website stated it specialized in “Transforming Organizations One Strategic Planning Session at a Time,” according to screenshots posted to Twitter on Saturday by former Wall Street Journal reporter Asra Nomani.
On a page titled “how we help you succeed,” the firm said it provided “one on one coaching, anti-bias training, racial and gender justice training, long- and short-term consulting, media strategy and development, strategic planning, organizational development, creative content creation.”
“‘Freedom fighter’ Patrice [sic] Cullors and ‘staunch Afrofuturist’ Janaya Khan exploit their association with Black Lives Matter to monetize themselves…as capitalists,” Nomani tweeted.
🧵How did anti-capitalist, self-described Marxist Patrice Cullors #BlackLivesMatter monetize her activism? I wondered. Here’s what I found. She created a consulting firm with her wife Janaya Khan, an early BLM leader. https://t.co/g2XY7G0SHc “Janaya & Patrisse Consulting.” pic.twitter.com/fUWkboV7kh
— Asra Q. Nomani (@AsraNomani) April 10, 2021
A report from the New York Post on Sunday revealing that Cullors has purchased four homes across the country since 2016 for a total of $3.2 million prompted a call from the head of Black Lives Matter Greater New York for an independent investigation into BLM Global Network’s finances. Black Lives Matter Greater New York is not affiliated with BLM Global Network.
BLM Global Network released a public statement on Tuesday saying that Cullors serves as the group’s executive director in a “volunteer capacity and does not receive a salary or benefits.”
“Patrisse has received a total of $120,000 since the organization’s inception in 2013, for duties such as serving as spokesperson and engaging in political education work,” the statement read. “To be abundantly clear, as a registered 501c3, [Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation] cannot and did not commit any organizational resources toward the purchase of personal property by any employee or volunteer. Any insinuation or assertion to the contrary is categorically false.”
The BLM co-founder’s latest real estate acquirement came on March 30 with the purchase of a $1.4 million home in a majority-white Los Angeles neighborhood through a corporate entity under her control, according to a celebrity real estate news site.
It’s unclear if the corporate entity used to purchase the Los Angeles home is Janaya and Patrisse Consulting. Cullors did not return a request for comment.
Cullors’ firm earned an additional $46,330 in 2018 from Real Justice PAC, a political action committee co-founded by left-wing activist Shaun King, according to Federal Election Commission records. Cullors is identified as a senior advisor to the PAC on the organization’s website.
Cullors told The Real News Network in 2015, before her real estate buying spree, that she and her fellow BLM co-founders were “trained Marxists.”
“The first thing, I think, is that we actually do have an ideological frame. Myself and [Alicia Garza] in particular are trained organizers,” Khan-Cullors said. “We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories. And I think that what we really tried to do is build a movement that could be utilized by many, many black folk.”
BLM Global Network revealed in February it raised over $90 million in 2020 thanks in large part to an outpouring of support following the police custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the Associated Press reported.
Cullors said in a statement commemorating BLM’s fifth anniversary in 2018 that the work of the movement “is carried out by our chapters, whose leadership spans across the country and the world.”
But the DCNF reported in June 2020 that BLM Global Network spent $4.5 million on consultants, travel and compensation for its staff from July 2017 through June 2019 while at the same time providing only $328,000 to outside groups such as the local autonomous BLM chapters.
And ten local BLM chapters accused BLM Global Network in November of providing “little to no financial support” to local chapters since the organization’s launch in 2013.
The local BLM chapters added that there is no acceptable transparency surrounding BLM Global Network’s finances.
“For years there has been inquiry regarding the financial operations of BLMGN and no acceptable process of either public or internal transparency about the unknown millions of dollars donated to BLMGN, which has certainly increased during this time of pandemic and rebellion,” the chapters said.
Cullors rose to national prominence in 2013 for her involvement in pushing the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag in protest of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager.
Cullors’ profile grew further in 2014 following the police-involved deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri, Eric Garner in New York, Tamir Rice in Ohio.
Rice’s mother, Samaria Rice, accused Cullors and other leaders of BLM Global Network in a March 2021 statement of “monopolizing and capitalizing” on the death of her son.
“We never hired them to be the representatives in the fight for justice for our dead loved ones murdered by the police,” Samaria Rice said in a joint statement with Lisa Simpson, the mother of Richard Risher, who was killed by police in Los Angeles in 2016.
“The ‘activists’ have events in our cities and have not given us anything substantial for using our loved ones’ images and names on their flyers,” Rice and Simpson said.
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