Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said that when $90 million in “white guilt money” came pouring into the organization’s coffers after the murder of George Floyd, the group had no infrastructure in place to handle the flood of cash — and now the mistakes made are being “weaponized” against her.
“I’m a human being that has made mistakes that want to change, want to challenge those mistakes and want to learn from those mistakes,” Cullors told the host of MSNBC’s “Into America” podcast Monday. “And I think what’s been hard is feeling like there isn’t room and space for that.”
The beleaguered former executive director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation also addressed allegations that she had personally benefited from the donations by purchasing homes for herself, including a $6 million property in Los Angeles, which included a seven-bedroom mansion, a pool, a soundstage and a garden.
“This was an investment,” she said. “It’s not my personal real estate. It’s not Patrisse Cullors’ real estate, it’s the organization’s real estate.”
Cullors said the house was to be used as a “media creation space” for BLM and also as a safe house for activists, but she said the organization decided to stay mum about the true purpose of the mansion out of fear that the right-wing media would jeopardize the safety of those associated with the movement.
“The minute we shared the information with the public … the right-wing media would do what they always do and they always did,” she said. “Because the right-wing media doesn’t have any sense or care for people’s security or safety.”
Cullors’ interview was uploaded the same day it was reported by The Post that rapper and entrepreneur Damon Turner, the father of her youngest child, was paid almost five times the amount BLM paid to the Trayvon Martin Foundation.
According to the group’s latest filing with the IRS, Cullors paid Turner’s company $969,459 for production, design and media services in fiscal year 2020.
An additional $840,000 went to a security company owned by Cullors’ brother.
Cullors resigned from the organization a month after The Post revealed that she went on a $3.2 million real estate buying spree. Cullors denied that the money used to buy residential properties in Georgia and California came from the charity, and those properties do not show up in the filing.
Black Lives Matter was founded by Cullors, Alicia Garza and Ayo Tometi in 2013 as a charity honoring the memory of Martin, the unarmed black teen who was killed by George Zimmerman in 2012.
By 2020, Cullors was the only remaining co-founder still attached to the organization.
After Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin, BLM found itself on the receiving end of millions of dollars in donations from individuals and companies eager to support the movement aimed at combating police brutality and racial discrimination.
“It was a major shock,” Cullors said of the sudden influx of cash. “That was a lot of white guilt money. There’s a lot of white folks being like, ‘We just got to put the money.’ “
Cullors argued that BLM had no framework in place to deal with the $90 million in donations, and complained that the black-led organization was held to a different set of standards than nonprofits led by white activists.
Cullors admitted that she made a mistake by not drawing a salary from BLM, which blurred the lines in the eyes of the public between the charity’s funds and her own.
“I should have taken a salary from Black Lives Matter because it would be less confusing for people,” Cullors said, explaining that she opted against it because she did not plan to stay in the executive director’s post for more than two years, and she viewed it as her “volunteer work.”
As news of the properties being bought by BLM began circulating, the charity’s detractors on the right accused Cullors of mishandling the money and using it for her own personal gain.
Cullors fired back at her critics, led by conservative talk show host Candace Owens, for attacking her and the organization.
“Some of my mistakes are being weaponized against me and also the entire movement,” she lamented. “And that’s truly disappointing to see us fall into that as well.”
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