An executive at Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) has been accused of taking more than just the knee after the grassroots arm of the BLM organization filed court papers in which it is alleged Shalomyah Bowers siphoned $10 million in donations to his own consulting firm.
The grassroots organization, Black Lives Matter Grassroots (BLMGR), a non-profit that serves as an umbrella for regional BLM groups, is suing Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF), as well as Bowers personally for unfair business practices, intentional misrepresentation, fraud, conversion, and unjust enrichment.
In the lawsuit filed at Los Angeles County Superior Court, Bowers is described by BLMGR as a “usurper” who “continued to betray the public trust by self-dealing and breaching his fiduciary duties” and using the grassroots donations account as his own “personal piggy bank.”
Furthermore, he is accused of “blazing a path of irreparable harm to BLM” and of “devising a scheme of fraud and misrepresentation to break the implied-in-fact contract between donors and BLM.”
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It is held by the group that Bowers diverted donations “to his own coffers,” and when confronted with the allegations, he changed the passwords of shared social media accounts, email groups, website portals, and other organizing tools that BLM had built in its nearly 10 years of existence” and “hired expensive high-powered lawyers and media consultants to bully and harass” BLM staff.
The BLMGNF board of directors hit back on Thursday with a statement denying the allegations, describing them as “false … slanderous and devoid of reality.” It vowed to continue keeping up the “fight for Black liberation.”
The infighting continued with Bowers accusing those suing him of “falling victim to 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,” the foundation added.
Previous BLM executives and co-founders have been accused of misusing the foundation’s funds, an allegation that prompted the resignation of co-founder Patrisse Cullors in May last year after her $3 million housing portfolio was revealed.