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Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Property Purchase Claim Missing Context

The Claim: Luxury home purchases linked to the role of Black Lives Matter for the organization’s co-founder

Real estate purchased by a Black Lives Matter co-founder came into the limelight this month after the New York Post reported what it called a “buying spree” that Patrisse Khan-Cullors had started. in 2016.

Social media users took the report as an indication that Khan-Cullors was enriched by the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Unbelievable. A big payday comes soon after (Derek) Chauvin’s trial,” an April 11 Facebook post said.

This text accompanied a photo of Khan-Cullors raising his right fist, and the text “Black Lives Matter co-founder Khan-Cullors reportedly bought four luxury homes.” The post generated hundreds of shares and comments, including from users who suggested Khan-Cullors was benefiting from donations to Black Lives Matter.

The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation had cashed in around $ 90 million in 2020, when racial unrest exploded across the country after the police murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, according to the Associated Press.

But there is no evidence to support the idea that Khan-Cullors used donations that poured in amid nationwide protests in 2020 to fund the purchase of four homes.

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The account that shared the Facebook post did not respond to a request for comment.

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors poses for a photo at Summit LA18 in Los Angeles in 2018.

Real estate purchased

The New York Post reported that Khan-Cullors has purchased four properties in recent years, although two of them arrived before 2020 have drawn attention and donations to Black Lives Matter. Three of those properties were in the Los Angeles area and one in suburban Atlanta, according to the Post.

One of the Los Angeles properties cost $ 510,000 when Khan-Cullors bought it in 2016. A second Los Angeles home cost him $ 590,000 in 2018, the Post reported. A suburban Atlanta property was purchased for $ 415,000 in 2020.

USA TODAY public archive searches have found Khan-Cullors related to these three properties.

The New York Post story links to the Dirt real estate blog for information on buying a fourth property. The blog reported that Khan-Cullors bought the Topanga Canyon Los Angeles home for $ 1.4 million on March 30 through a limited liability company.

USA TODAY was unable to verify the purchase of the Topanga Canyon property.

Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Property Purchase Claim Missing Context

A Black Lives Matter protester waves a flag on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Sunday March 3, 2019, during the Bloody Sunday commemoration in Selma, Ala.

Were purchases connected to BLM?

The central question here is whether Khan-Cullors’ purchases tie into his BLM role, as the post suggests.

For this statement, as with any other we verify, the burden of proof lies with the speaker. The post did not provide any evidence of such a link, the author did not respond to provide any, and we could not find any in our research, although the material is limited given the nature of the Khan-Cullors’ organization and work history.

The New York Post report, which cited the real estate blog Dirt, sparked a cascade of criticism of real estate purchases, including from the curatorial nonprofit National Legal and Policy Center.

National Legal and Policy Center President Peter Flaherty said in a prepared statement provided to USA TODAY that “donors from any nonprofit group should know how the organization spends its funds” and stressed that Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation has not filed public disclosures with the IRS. .

The foundation received its official nonprofit designation from the Internal Revenue Service in December, according to the Associated Press, and will be required to file public tax documents in the future. No public financial file has yet been made.

Khan-Cullors said there was no connection between home buying and his BLM role.

“To be completely clear, as a registered 501c3, BLMGNF cannot and has not committed organizational resources to purchase my personal property,” Khan-Cullors said in a prepared statement. “Any innuendo or statement to the contrary is categorically false.”

In a cease-and-desist letter responding to a press release from the Political Center, the BLM Foundation responded to ask the National Legal and Policy Center to remove the “innuendo” that “Black Lives Matter funds Global Network Foundation were used. , directly or indirectly, to buy real estate. “

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Khan-Cullors said in a prepared statement that she had received a total of $ 120,000 from the organization since 2013 for acting as a spokesperson and “political education work,” but did not had not been paid since 2019.

Khan-Cullors pointed out the myriad of jobs she has had. She has two book contracts, including the authorship of a New York Times bestselling memoir. The Los Angeles Times reported last year that Khan-Cullors had signed a production agreement with Warner Brothers “to develop scripted dramas and comedies, docuseries and animated programs for children, young adults. and families. ”

Khan-Cullors also noted that she is a public speaker, owns a gallery, has an agreement with YouTube, and teaches at a private liberal arts college in Arizona.

Our note: Missing context

The claim that Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors bought four luxury homes is MISSING BACKGROUND, because without additional information it could be misleading. While some social media users have suggested the purchases were evidence that Khan-Cullors had been enriched by the movement, our research found no evidence that funds from the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation were used to purchase. a property. Khan-Cullors has held several other jobs in addition to his work as the organization’s volunteer general manager, including writing a dissertation and developing content for Warner Brothers.

Our sources of fact-checking:

  • The Associated Press, February 23, AP Exclusive: Black Lives Matter Talks About His Finances

  • Instagram, April 14, article by Patrisse Khan-Cullors

  • National Legal and Policy Center, April 10, Patrisse Cullors, founder of Black Lives Matter, owns expensive real estate

  • The New York Post, April 10, Inside BLM, Patrisse Khan-Cullors Co-Founder, Million Dollar Real Estate Purchases

  • Patrisse Collors website, accessed April 19, About Patrisse Cullors

  • The Los Angeles Times, October 15, 2020, Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, signs a TV production deal with Warner Bros.

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Our fact-checking work is funded in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Misleading Real Estate Claim by BLM Co-Founder

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