September 27, 2022

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Real estate agent BLM paid $6m to for a $3m mansion claims it was all done ‘above board’

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A Los Angeles real estate developer who purchased a mansion that he sold to a Black Lives Matter foundation six days later has insisted that the sale was ‘all done above board’ – despite the fact that the house mysteriously increased in value by $2.7 million during that timeframe.  

Dyane Pascall bought the 6,500 square foot property in the Studio City district on October 21, 2020.

The seller, televangelist Shawn Bolz, told The New York Post he sold it for $3.1 million.

On October 27, Pascall, who worked for BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, sold it to BLM’s foundation, BLMGFN, for $5.8 million.

The sale was in cash, and to a shell company that had been set up just days before in Delaware.

The $2.7 million discrepancy remains unexplained, and Pascall has not responded to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.

On Thursday, Pascall denied that he paid $3.1 million for the house, despite having told the Post that he couldn’t remember how much it was.

Pascall told the Washington Examiner: ‘I never touched any money. The money went straight to escrow.’

Dyane Pascall, who worked for Cullors's consultancy, purchased the Studio City mansion. Six days later it was sold in cash for $2.7 million more than it was bought, the previous owner said, to a shell company run by BLMGFN

Shawn Bolz (left) said he sold the house for $3.1 million. Dyane Pascall (right), who worked for Cullors’s consultancy, purchased it. Six days later it was sold in cash for $5.8 million to a shell company run by BLMGFN

Property photos show the luxurious seven-bedroom, 6,500-square foot $6million Los Angeles mansion was reportedly purchased with Black Lives Matter donations

Property photos show the luxurious seven-bedroom, 6,500-square foot $6million Los Angeles mansion was reportedly purchased with Black Lives Matter donations

Cullors, 38, came under fire last year for a slew of high-profile property purchases. She resigned after facing backlash from critics and supporters. BLM brass assert the latest purchase is above board, despite internal emails showing members attempting to cover up its existence when confronted with real estate records detailing the purchase

Cullors, 38, came under fire last year for a slew of high-profile property purchases. She resigned after facing backlash from critics and supporters. BLM brass assert the latest purchase is above board, despite internal emails showing members attempting to cover up its existence when confronted with real estate records detailing the purchase

He disputed the New York Post’s reporting.

‘No, I did not buy the house for $3.1 million and sell it for $5.8 million. That would be ridiculous,’ he said.

Neither Pascall, nor Cullors, nor BLM, have been able to explain the mystery about the price.

The California Office of the Attorney General declined to comment on the charity’s mansion purchase.

‘To protect its integrity, we are unable to comment on, even to confirm or deny, a potential or ongoing investigation,’ the office told the Washington Examiner.

Cullors said on Tuesday that BLM concealed the home purchase because it ‘needed repairs and renovation.’

The Post reported that no permits had been sought for upgrades to the 1930s house since its October 2020 sale, and a source described by The Washington Examiner as having ‘direct knowledge of the property sale’ said the mansion received substantial renovations before its October 2020 sale.

Pascall said the confusion would soon be cleared up.

Yet the news of the property, and the questions about its price, cast further doubt about the transparency of BLM’s financial situation. 

The reported rapid price inflation ‘raises serious questions,’ ethics experts said.

The purchase of the six-bedroom property was first revealed on Monday by New York Magazine, amid growing questions about BLM’s finances.

The organization in February 2021 said it had taken in more than $90 million in 2020 and still had $60 million on hand, but it remains unclear how that money is being managed or even where it is.

Cullors, the co-founder of the organization, resigned in May 2021 as director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF), amid scrutiny of her property empire. She has written best-selling books, and has a contract with Warner Brothers to produce content.

On Wednesday, Cullors, 38, angrily hit back at the questions over cash purchase of the Studio City mansion, describing the criticism as ‘racist and sexist’.

She insisted that the expansive property was bought as a ‘safe space’ for black creatives, activists and thought leaders, and its purchase was never disclosed because it needed renovating.

The property's patio and outdoor yard features an in-ground pool and cabana

The property’s patio and outdoor yard features an in-ground pool and cabana 

Cullors called an article questioning the purchase of the property 'despicable'

She wrote in an Instagram post on Tuesday that the questions were 'racist and sexist'

Cullors on Tuesday hit back at questions over the 2020 purchase of the lavish property

Cullors called the New York Magazine investigation ‘a despicable abuse of a platform that’s intended to provide truthful information to the public’, and said that the author had ‘a proven and very public bias against me and other Black leaders’.

She did not address the discrepancy in the home’s cost.

The property was purchased on October 21, 2020 by Pascall, a real estate developer who worked for the firm run by Cullors and her partner, Janaya and Patrisse Consulting.

Pascall is president of Conscious Capital Investment Enterprises, according to LinkedIn, which describes it as ‘Real Estate Investment company in South LA that provides affordable housing in low income communities in the face of rapid gentrification.’

On his Instagram page, Pascall says he specializes in ‘jokes and real estate’.

Pascall bought the property from televangelists Shawn and Cherie Bolz, according to property records, and Shawn Bolz told The New York Post the sale was for $3.1 million.

Yet six days after it was purchased, on October 27, Pascall transferred the property to BLMGNF for $5.8 million – with BLMGNF paying Pascall in cash, and the purchase registered to a shell company registered several days before.

The purchase came days after BLMGNF received an injection of $66.5 million in donations that had flooded in from around the globe after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis policeman. 

The $2.7 million increase in value in less than a week has not been explained.

It is also at odds with the market rate.

The 1936 mansion is 257.43 percent ‘more expensive’ than similar homes in its Studio City neighborhood, according to realtor.com.

Neither BLMGNF nor Pascall have responded to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.

The mansion comes complete with a sound stage (pictured) and mini filming studio. According to the property listing, the mansion's guests have included Hollywood royalty such as Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart

The mansion comes complete with a sound stage (pictured) and mini filming studio. According to the property listing, the mansion’s guests have included Hollywood royalty such as Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart

The Studio City home - which sits on a three-quarter-acre lot - boasts more than half-dozen bedrooms and bathrooms, a 'butler's pantry' in the kitchen (pictured) as well as multiple fireplaces and a 'mud room'

The Studio City home – which sits on a three-quarter-acre lot – boasts more than half-dozen bedrooms and bathrooms, a ‘butler’s pantry’ in the kitchen (pictured) as well as multiple fireplaces and a ‘mud room’ 

Emails show the firm wanted to keep the purchase secret, despite filming a video on the home's patio in May

Emails show the firm wanted to keep the purchase secret, despite filming a video on the home’s patio in May

Tom Anderson, director of the government integrity project at the National Legal and Policy Center, told The New York Post that the price hike raised serious questions.

‘A review of property assessment records show the value of the mansion BLMGNF purchased skyrocketed while all the neighboring properties saw an average of less than a five percent increase,’ he said.

‘This raises serious questions concerning the purchase price of the house and the way the transaction was handled through cash and a shadowy LLC.’

Cullors emphasized in Tuesday’s statement that she never lived in the property, but she did not attempt to explain the price.

‘I do not own the property, have never lived there and made that clear to the reporter,’ she said. 

‘I want to be clear: While I will always see myself as a part of the BLM community, I am no longer in leadership and I am not a part of any decision-making processes within the foundation. 

‘I have never misappropriated funds, and it pains me that so many people have accepted that narrative without the presence of tangible truth or facts. 

‘Nevertheless, this will soon be made clear upon the release of the BLM 990s.’

Every organization that has been recognized as tax exempt by the IRS has to file Form 990 every year, unless they make less than $200,000 in revenue and have less than $500,000 in assets.

BLMGFN has never submitted a 990, according to ProPublica’s database, Nonprofit Explorer.

The foundation emerged as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, which itself was begun in 2013. 

BLM founders include Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi (pictured together  in 2015)

LA faction founder Melina Abdullah

BLM founders (from left) include Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi (pictured together left in 2015) and LA faction founder Melina Abdullah (right photo)

The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation famously grew into one of the largest international movements against racial injustice in mid-2020 but has now come under intense scrutiny over its finances

The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation famously grew into one of the largest international movements against racial injustice in mid-2020 but has now come under intense scrutiny over its finances

BLMGFN was in 2016 incorporated under the umbrella of a company called Thousand Currents, which helps manage non-profits.

In December 2020, BLMGFN became officially independent from Thousand Currents.

Amid the scrutiny, BLMGFN announced in February 2022 that it had hired Marc Elias, a high-profile Democrat lawyer, to untangle their finances. 

Elias will likely be looking at the details of the Studio City mansion.

Pictures inside the grand home, sitting on a three-quarter-acre lot, reveal a pool, tree-lined yard, outdoor fireplace, ‘butler’s pantry’, its own miniature filming studio, 24 parking spaces, and two separate guest houses along with the main house. 

Other luxury features boasted by the mansion’s listing are a ‘mud room, custom wrought iron staircase, and rejuvenation light fixtures, handles and other details.’ 

The home is also designed with opulent finishes such as a ‘soapstone center island,’ Carrara marble and Calacatta gold stone featured in bathrooms, three fireplaces – ‘one imported from Italy and one with handmade Arto Cement Tile Hearth.’ 

News of the property purchase comes amid heightened scrutiny of the foundation, which famously grew into one of the largest international movements against racial injustice in mid-2020 and has since faced calls for financial transparency. 

BLM attempted to quell speculation of suspected misappropriation in early 2021 by releasing a financial report that showed it had taken in $90million throughout 2020, distributed grants to its partner organizations, and had $60million remaining in its accounts. 

Earlier this year, DailyMail.com also revealed the group blew $12.7million of those funds on ‘professional fees’, according to the charity revenue and expenses statements that were included in its application for tax-exempt, nonprofit status in August 2020. 

However, neither of those reports included records of the $6million property purchase made months earlier. 

News of the real estate acquisition was first reported by New York Magazine on Monday as the organization allegedly hoped to keep the house’s existence a secret – despite three of its former leaders reportedly filming a series of videos dining and drinking champagne outside the estate last spring. 

Documents and internal communications reportedly reveal the luxury property was handled in ways that ‘blur boundaries’ between charitable use and those that would benefit some of the organization’s leaders – including Cullors, who shared video in June of her enjoying a ritzy brunch outside the estate with fellow officials Alicia Garza and Melina Abdullah, who have both since left the organization.   

When contacted by New York Magazine for comment regarding the property’s existence, officials seemingly attempted to make the story go away. 

The magazine said it learned of the estate through a source from within the firm, who had access to the BLM leaders’ internal emails.

After receiving the email asking for comment, BLM officials reportedly circulated an internal memo with possible responses to the outlet’s query concerning the alleged purchase.

The responses ranged from: ‘Can we kill the story?’ to: ‘Our angle – needs to be to deflate ownership of the property,’ the magazine reported. 

The memo reportedly included bullet points that outlined how ‘Campus is part of cultural arm of the org – potentially as an ‘influencer house,’ where abolition+ based content is produced by artists & creatives.’ 

Another bullet point was reportedly titled ‘Accounting/990 modifications,’ according to the paper, and read in part: ‘Need to first make sure it’s legally okay to use as we plan to use it.’ 

Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Melina Abdullah, allegedly laid out $6million to buy a 6500-square foot Southern California mansion (seen in background). Emails show the firm wanted to keep it secret, despite filming a video on its patio in May (pictured) - an incident officials in emails called a 'hole' in the story given to New York Magazine

Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Melina Abdullah, allegedly laid out $6million to buy a 6500-square foot Southern California mansion (seen in background). Emails show the firm wanted to keep it secret, despite filming a video on its patio in May (pictured) – an incident officials in emails called a ‘hole’ in the story given to New York Magazine

The video, posted in June, shows Cullors (not pictured) enjoying a ritzy brunch outside the estate with fellow officials Alicia Garza and Melina Abdullah, who have both since left the organization

The video, posted in June, shows Cullors (not pictured) enjoying a ritzy brunch outside the estate with fellow officials Alicia Garza and Melina Abdullah, who have both since left the organization

The memo goes on to designate the property as a ‘safehouse,’ for leaders whose safety has been threatened. 

The internal bulletin, however, notes: ‘Holes in security story: Use in public YT videos.’

The memo seemingly referencing Cullors’ public video outside the supposed secret hideout, in which the three officials sipped champagne on the property’s patio over an ornate table spread – and addressed controversy over Cullors’ now notorious property purchases.

‘For me, the hardest moments have been the right-wing-media machine just leveraging literally all its weight against me, against our movement, against BLM the organization,’ Cullors says in the 17-minute clip, posted shortly before her resignation following backlash over her reported purchase of four lavish homes for $3.2 million.

‘I’m some weeks out now from a lot of the noise, so I have more perspective, right? 

‘While I was in it, I was in survival mode,’ Cullors said, referring to an April 2021 article in the New York Post that detailed the purchases.

‘I think they’ve attempted to cancel us, but they have not been successful in canceling us,’ Abdullah says at another point in the recorded discussion meant to address the anniversary of the death of Eric Garner, but quickly became a defense of Cullors’ real estate ventures.

‘They’ve attempted to say – and I’m just gonna say it – ‘She bought some damn houses. We gonna cancel her,” Garza said, in a pointed comment addressing Cullors’ critics. 

In a letter issued to BLM Monday, the California Department of Justice also accused the charity of failing to submit its annual financial reports and alleged it was in delinquent status

In a letter issued to BLM Monday, the California Department of Justice also accused the charity of failing to submit its annual financial reports and alleged it was in delinquent status

She too left the group shortly after the roundtable, saying that neither ‘right-wing attacks’ nor criticism from black organizers angered by disproportionate gaps between the fortunes of the movement’s most lauded figures and on-the-ground activists, were reasons for her departure.

In an emailed statement to New York Magazine April 1, Shalomyah Bowers, a BLM board member, asserted that the foundation had bought Campus ‘with the intention for it to serve as housing and studio space for recipients of the Black Joy Creators Fellowship.’ 

The fellowship, which ‘provides recording resources and dedicated space for Black creatives to launch content online and in real life focused on abolition, healing justice, urban agriculture and food justice, pop culture, activism, and politics,’ was announced on April 2, the following morning.

Bowers also maintained in the statement that BLMGNF had ‘always planned’ to disclose the house in legal filings this May.

The board member also doubled down on declarations that the estate does not serve as anyone’s personal residence, and that purchasing property via private LLCs is customary in real estate for legal reasons. 

The statement did not address why the supposed creative ‘influencer’ space published relatively little content.

Aside from the aforementioned video, in which none of the former BLM officials addressed the property behind them – has been produced there over the course of 17 months. 

The foundation’s decision to keep quiet about the house until now, when confronted, is unusual for a supposedly charitable – and tax-exempt – organization such as BLM, and it is one that leaves the organization open to further critique and scrutiny, nonprofit expert Jacob Harold told New York Magazine Monday. 

‘That’s a very legitimate critique,’ said Harold, a former CEO of GuideStar and the co-founder of Candid, an information service that reports on nonprofits.

The revelation could negatively affect further donations to the foundation, Harold added, as it continues to face scrutiny over its finances.

In February, foundation leaders were hit with a notice from the Department of Justice asserting that members could be held personally liable if they fail to disclose financial records about the charity’s $60million in donations within the next 60 days.  

BLMGNF filed IRS documents requesting to become a nonprofit in 2020 when millions of dollars in donations began pouring in after the police killing of George Floyd

BLMGNF filed IRS documents requesting to become a nonprofit in 2020 when millions of dollars in donations began pouring in after the police killing of George Floyd 

Under 'professional fees' in the organization's IRS Form 1023, BLMGNF listed $12,706,366 for 2020 and predicted a similar sum, $12.7million, on such costs for 2021

Under ‘professional fees’ in the organization’s IRS Form 1023, BLMGNF listed $12,706,366 for 2020 and predicted a similar sum, $12.7million, on such costs for 2021 

The DOJ requested a copy of BLM’s annual registration renewal fee report and its 2020 IRS tax forms within two months time. 

If the organization fails to submit these documents, its charity exemption status will be revoked. It could also face fines for ‘each month or partial month for which the report(s) are delinquent.’

The letter, which was obtained by the Washington Examiner, threatened that ‘directors, trustees, officers and return preparers’ would be ‘personally liable’ for ‘all penalties, interest and other costs incurred to restore exempt status’. 

The DOJ noted that ‘charitable assets cannot be used to pay these avoidable costs’.

Day earlier, it had been revealed that BLM has not had designated anyone as in charge of its finances after co-founder Cullors’ resignation.

It is not clear who is currently in charge of the activist group after all three of its founding members – Cullors, Garza and Opal Tometi  – left the organization. 

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