SOUTH BEND, IN- The wheels continue to fall off Black Lives Matter. Yahoo News reports that Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita has filed a lawsuit against the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation last Thursday.
The latest development is part of Rokita’s investigation of BLMGNF’s finances and apparent misuse of donations.
“I filed a lawsuit against the Black Lives Matter organization to protect Hoosiers from this house of cards,” Rokita announced on social media. “BLM has concerning patterns of behavior [and] we’ll do what it takes to get to the bottom of it on behalf of generous Hoosiers who have donated to them.”
Fox News wrote that BLMGNF, the fundraising arm of the Black Lives Matter movement, has been facing increasing examination over the tens of millions of dollars in donations the organization has received, donations which increased exponentially in the wake of the George Floyd overdose death in Minneapolis nearly two years ago.
Rokita’s lawsuit is demanding BLM respond to investigative demands filed in February of this year.
“The office of the Attorney General filed a petition to Enforce a Civil Investigative Demand, which seeks an order requiring BLM to respond to a Civil Investigative Demand issued to the organization in February 2022,” the attorney general’s office asked.
Among issues plaguing BLM is the rather large real estate portfolio acquired by the group, in particular co-founder Patrisse Cullors. It was also recently revealed that BLM secretly bought a $6 million mansion in Los Angeles, referred to as the “Campus” by the group’s leaders, and hid it from the public.
When New York Magazine inquired about the house, the group circulated a memo discussing the possibility of trying to “kill” the story.
Moreover, in 2021, BLM bought a mansion in Toronto, Canada for $3 million in which the money was transferred to a Canadian nonprofit—ironically run by the wife of Cullors.
Cullors turned tail and ran from the organization in May 2021 as the walls closed in on the group’s finances. That came on the heels of a number of other real estate purchases and her having a wall built around one of them, even as she had criticized former President Donald Trump’s border wall to ensure American sovereignty.
BLM told Fox News it wasn’t aware of Indiana’s request for information until they were served with the lawsuit, and claims the organization is working with their attorneys to “address the matter immediately.”
Rokita’s office claims, according to the IndyStar that BLM published a report in 2020 whereby it claimed to have raised over $90 million. They said more than $21 million of that number went to local chapters, including one in South Bend.
Rokita’s office said, however, an IRS filing from the organization for the first half of 2021 described zero revenue, expenses, and assets. Rokita seeks to “ensure transparency to donors” by verifying that “funds donated by Indiana residents are used for their intended purpose and not for the personal benefit of BLM directors,” the release said.
“The attorney general’s office has asked for a list of information and documents describing the organization’s donation and tax info as part of its civil investigation,” the IndyStar wrote.
Since BLM has yet to respond, Rokita is asking a Marion County judge to force the organization to comply.
A civil investigative demand filed on Feb. 23 saw Rokita’s office ask BLMGNF to identify its Indiana chapters or affiliations, how much funding it had distributed to Indiana chapters, and any property it either owns or holds in the Hoosier State.
His office is also seeking information on how many Indiana residents donated to the group and how much was donated in total. It is not seeking information on who the people were who donated.
In addition, Rokita’s office is seeking tax and financial documents, including IRS form 990s for every year from 2017 through 2021, and records of all payments since Jan. 1, 2020, including who received the payments.
Since Rokita filed the documents, BLM has ignored his requests.
Rokita is also asking the court to take action against the organization if they continue to stonewall his office, along with seeking the donor, payment, and tax information.
Rokita is seeking a halt on BLM’s fundraising requests in the state, as well as an order demanding BLM cease doing business in the state if they continue to refuse to provide the requested information or documents.
The South Bend chapter of BLM told the IndyStar they have received a similar demand letter from the attorney general’s office, and promised to provide the information Rokita’s office is seeking.
South Bend BLM spokesperson Jorden Giger said, “I know that we have been diligent in our work and accountability to our community. We’ve not engaged in any kind of impropriety or self-dealing. All of our funding has gone toward forwarding our work in our community.”
Giger dismissed any concerns people may have about the South Bend chapter.
“We don’t have any concerns really about this,” he said. “We want to be transparent.”
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