The head of Black Lives Matter’ administrative arm is accused of “siphoning” more than $10 million from the movement’s donors to his consulting firm, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles.
The lawsuit describes Shalomyah Bowers, the secretary of the board of the nonprofit Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (GNF), as a “red [sic] administrator, middleman, usurper,” who was hired to collect donations and track fund costs, but “couldn’t let go of his personal piggy bank.”
He reportedly redirected donations for Black Lives Matter Grassroots Inc. — a separate organization that represents the different chapters of the movement and is the plaintiff in the lawsuit — to his personal business, Bowers Consulting Firm.
Specifically, the lawsuit accuses Mr. Bowers of providing GNF grants to his own consulting firm and other organizations that have agreed to hire the firm.
Bowers Consulting was paid $2,167,894 in 2021 by the GNF, according to federal tax returns reported by the New York Post.
The lawsuit also accuses Mr Bowers of changing passwords to social media accounts, preventing activists from accessing them.
“[Bowers] continued to betray the public trust by doing business with him and breaching his fiduciary duties,” the lawsuit states. “His actions led GNF to multiple investigations by the Internal Revenue Service and various state attorneys general, setting the stage for irreparable harm to BLM in less than eighteen months.”
Mr Bowers spoke to the Post on Saturday and called the lawsuit “a power move by someone determined to gain power and control” of the BLM movement.
“It’s the craziest thing I’ve read in a pleading, and it’s being signed under penalty of perjury when they know it’s a lie,” added Bowers, who told The Post that GNF also went through audits that don’t show $10 million. him or his company.
A statement on the BLM website called the allegations made by Black Lives Matter Grassroots leader Melina Abdullah “libelous and devoid of reality.”
Mr Bowers was hired by movement co-founder Patrisse Cullors to lead the GNF in September 2020, according to the lawsuit.
Ms Cullors said Mr. Bowers had no ambition to “take over and lead” BLM, the lawsuit alleges.