The Washington Examiner has been all over this story. Last week they reported that the BLM Global Network Foundation has had no director since Patrisse Cullors left the organization last year. They also discovered that the office address listed on BLM’s tax documents is a multi-use building in Los Angeles that has no BLM office.
In a follow-up report, the Examiner pointed out that members of BLM Toronto recently quit the group over conflict that involved a decision by BLM Canada to purchase an $8.1 million building in Toronto using funds from the BLM Global Network Foundation.
Today the Examiner has another story which may have been prompted by their reports last week. Monday, the Attorney General for California sent a letter warning BLM it had 60 days in which to update its annual paperwork required of all charities. Until it does so, the group is not allowed to solicit or disburse funds.
“The organization BLACK LIVES MATTER GLOBAL NETWORK FOUNDATION, INC. is delinquent with The Registry of Charitable Trusts for failing to submit required annual report(s),” reads the letter, dated Jan. 31.
BLM is also prohibited from “soliciting or disbursing charitable funds” in California until it submits its 2020 Form 990 and other financial records to the state, the California DOJ informed the charity Monday.
The 990 form was due on 12/31/21 so it’s already a full month late. The state is giving the group just 60 days to submit it or they risk losing their tax exempt status. In addition, failure to meet the deadline means late fees will be imposed for every month or partial month in which BLM has not turned in the forms. At first glance that may not sound like much of a threat to an organization which allegedly has $60 million in the bank. But the letter also contains this warning:
PLEASE NOTE: Charitable assets cannot be used to pay these avoidable costs. Accordingly, directors, trustees, officers and return preparers responsible for failure to timely file the above-described report(s) are personally liable for payment of all penalties, interest and other costs incurred to restore exempt status.
Since there’s apparently no director at the moment, I guess the fines would fall on the remaining board members? Whatever the case, the late fees won’t come from the charity’s pool of donations, it will come from the individuals responsible for the failure.
Is anyone in charge of BLM? This failure to do the bare minimum required of a major charity suggests not. I guess we’ll see how quickly they can get their act together. And assuming they finally do get their 990 form submitted in a few weeks, it will be interesting to see what that form shows.