The head of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) Global Network Foundation has been accused of stealing more than $10 million in donations given to the Marxist movement for "on-the-ground work," according to court documents.
The grassroots group, a California-based non-profit made up of BLM chapters across the country, said Bowers was hired to help collect and distribute donations for expenditures within the foundation, but he instead used the organization as his "personal piggy bank."
Bowers's actions prompted the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and various state attorney generals to lead "multiple investigations" into its financial accounts, "blazing a path of irreparable harm" to the BLM movement in less than 18 months, according to the complaint.
"While BLM leaders and movement workers were on the streets 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," the lawsuit states.
When Bowers was confronted about the raised allegation, he changed the passwords of shared social media accounts, email groups, website portals, and other tools the movement had built over the years in order to continue "fraudulently raising money from unsuspecting donors passing himself off as the organization," it added.
The three-person board, which includes Bowers, said it requested to meet with Abdullah and BLM Grassroots to discuss the allegations and social media issues, but they "ignored or refused" the offers.
The board also accused Abdullah and the BLM chapter of wanting to "control the entirety of BLM" and to rather "take the same steps of our white oppressors" and "utilize the criminal legal system" than resolve internal issues through conflict mediation.
Walter Mosley, an attorney representing the case, alleges that Bowers engaged in self-dealing, giving grants to his own consulting firm and charging exorbitant fees reaching eight figures, according to The Los Angeles Times.
"The lawsuit demands that they return the people’s funds and stop impersonating Black Lives Matter," Mosley said in a statement.
The foundation had nearly $42 million in net assets as of June 30, 2021, according to the tax form. It had about $80 million in revenue through grants, royalties, and other contributions. Roughly $26 million, or about a third of the amount, were dispensed to BLM chapters and organizations advancing BLM, transgender, and environmental causes.