Patrisse Cullors, the co-founder and executive director of the national Black Lives Matter organization, overpaid her baby daddy’s art company by about $100,000 to produce live 2020 election night coverage, The Daily Caller reported.
New evidence also shows that Cullors herself is the company’s co-chair, according to The Daily Caller.
As head of the BLM PAC, Cullors personally initiated the $148,300 deal with Trap Heals, a company founded by Damon Turner, who fathered her only child.
Two other organizations that Cullors founded and operates—Reform LA Jails and the BLM Global Network Foundation—also paid Trap Heals for other projects, bringing the combined payments to about $238,000.
Two video production company owners said the payments to Trap Heals do not accurately reflect the industry’s rates, even for top-of-the-line service.
“Preproduction and the night of the shoot — everything all-in — $50,000 to $55,000 is what our estimate would be. And it would look awesome,” said Tim Cramer, the owner of Mosaic, a 24-year-old video production company. “That’s the set, the venue, that’s everything. And that’s all top tier.”
Cramer said Trap Heals “severely overcharged” BLM PAC “across the board.”
The other video producer, who has been in the business for 40 years and asked to remain anonymous because he works with far-left groups, said the video’s absurd cost and the “benefactor of this project” shows a “conflict of interest.”
“You add the amount of money they got paid for such a useless, awful piece of video production,” he said. “It just smells really, really bad.”
Despite the outrageous payment to Trap Heals, the three-hour livestream had continuous audio and technical difficulties.
Comments on the YouTube video constantly complain about the audio quality.
“I was just blasted away by how awful everything looked,” the anonymous video producer said. “It was just cheap and nasty looking.”
For its $150,000 price tag, the video has a paltry 3,400 views. The Los Angeles Times even wrote an article to advertise the election-night livestream.
Cullors not only overpaid Turner for terrible work, but she benefited from the grift.
In a press release, Trap Heals identified Cullors alongside Turner as the company’s co-chair, BET reported.
“I feel personally and from an ethical perspective, there are a huge number of problems here,” said charity ethics expert Doug White, who used to direct Columbia University’s Master of Science in Fundraising Management program.
“Self-dealing is when someone is in a position to direct money and who uses it on his or her own behalf,” he said. “That’s basically what it boils down to, and this fits that, largely, that definition.”
Paul Kamenar, counsel at National Legal and Policy Center, said his organization is “considering filing” an ethics complaint with the Federal Election Commission.
NLPC filed a complaint against Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., last year for funneling money to her husband’s company. The complaint successfully ended the arrangement.
Kamenar said the BLM Global Network Foundation’s bylaws list Cullors as the “sole Director,” meaning that she can unilaterally handle the organization’s finances.
“Most nonprofits have at least three Directors and many large ones have more than that so that there is accountability and oversight,” he said.