By Jon Brown | Fox News
Shalomyah Bowers, left, Cicley Gay, center, and D’Zhane Parker pose for a portrait on May 13, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Shalomyah Bowers accused those suing him of ‘falling victim to the carceral logic’ of the legal system
A lawsuit filed on behalf of 26 grassroots Black Lives Matter (BLM) chapters last week alleged that the leader of the national organization siphoned $10 million in charitable contributions to pay for his own personal expenses.
Black Lives Matter Grassroots (BLMGR), a nonprofit that serves as the umbrella group for local BLM chapters nationwide, claimed in the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court that Shalomyah Bowers, the leader of Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF), defrauded the local chapters for “unjust enrichment” and used their funds as his “personal piggy bank.”
BLMGNF, which received more than $90 million in the wake of George Floyd’s death in 2020, represents the national BLM movement.
Bowers, described as a “rogue administrator” and “middle man turned usurper,” led the foundation to be investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and “[blazed] a path of irreparable harm to BLM in less than eighteen months,” according to the suit. “While BLM leaders and movement workers were on the street risking their lives, Mr. Bowers remained in his cushy offices devising a scheme of fraud and misrepresentation to break the implied-in-fact contract between donors and BLM.”
Melina Abdullah, the director of BLMGR and a co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter, said at a recent press conference that “the assets that we built, the financial resources, the social media platforms and the name ‘Black Lives Matter’ have been taken from us and are under the control of consultants.”
BLMGNF’s board of directors denied the allegations in a lengthy statement posted to their website Thursday. “Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) is here to give light and fight for Black liberation,” the statement said in part. “Make no mistake, the allegations of Melina Abdullah and BLM Grassroots (BLMGR) are false. They are slanderous and devoid of reality.”
Bowers and his group went on to scold those who are suing him, accusing them of “falling victim to the carceral logic and social violence that fuels the legal system.”
“They would rather take the same steps of our white oppressors and utilize the criminal legal system which is propped up by white supremacy (the same system they say they want to dismantle) to solve movement disputes,” they said.
Patrisse Cullors is one of the three co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement. (Francine Orr/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Bowers is a close associate of BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who resigned from BLMGNF in May 2021 after allegations she misused millions of dollars in donation money.
Disclosures found that the foundation paid $6 million for a Los Angeles compound in 2020. BLMGNF received backlash following the purchase, including from some of the organization’s supporters.
BLMGNF also dished out $2.1 million to Bowers’s firm, Bowers Consulting, between July 2020 and June 2021, according to tax forms the BLMGNF provided to the Associated Press.
BLACK LIVES MATTER PAID NEARLY $4M TO BOARD SECRETARY, CO-FOUNDER’S BROTHER, AND FATHER OF HER CHILD
SOLE BLM-BACKED FEDERAL CANDIDATE CHARGED WITH WIRE FRAUD SCHEME INVOLVING CAMPAIGN AND PARTY FUNDS