An executive from the Black Lives Matter group has been accused of skimming more than $US 10 million ($AUD 14.7 million, £8.6 million) from donors to their own personal use, according to recent court filings.
A lawsuit has been filed against executive Shalomyah Bowers, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (GNF), Bowers’ consulting firm, and other unnamed individuals.
“Mr. Bowers continues to fraudulently raise money from unsuspecting donors passing himself off as the organisation that is doing the work of BLM, padding his own pockets at that of his associates at the cost of BLM’s reputation,” the suit said, as per CNN.
Credit: Franz Perc / Alamy Stock Photo
The filings request a jury trial while accusing Bowers of unfair business practices, fraud, intentional misrepresentation, and other claims.
Bowers was hired by Black Lives Matters (BLM) co-founder Patrisse Cullors back in 2020.
He was brought on to help run the GNF which is an extension of the Black Lives Matter grassroots organisation, court documents revealed as per CNN.
The BLM executive has denied all the claims that have been levied against him in the lawsuit and said in a statement that the accusations are ‘harmful, divisive, and false’.
GNF lashed out at the lawsuit, filed by BLM co-founder Melina Abdullah, in a statement.
“Either Melina Abdullah and BLM Grassroots blatantly and intentionally lied with this allegation in order to garner salacious news headlines, or they simply failed to do their due diligence before making such a wild and unfounded accusation,” the statement said.
“Either is simply unacceptable.”
statement adds that claims in the lawsuit are ‘completely false’.
The GNF added that the group has only ever made payments to Bowers’ consulting firm since 2020 and fully in-line with the legal contracts associated with the business arrangement.
These terms and conditions were approved prior to Bowers joining the GNF Board of Directors, the statement revealed.
To take things one step further, GNF has chucked everything out in the open to prove that claims against its executive are false.
GNF have just released an independent external audit, with an outside inspector investigating the group’s financial accounts for ‘accuracy and ensuring fraud and abuse were not happening’.
“As shown in the independent audit, there has been no ‘syphoning of money’.”
The statement added: “The result of GNF’s audit was that the organisation’s finances are strong, healthy, and in order.”