A Los Angeles-based jail reform organization chaired by Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors spent $26,000 on “meetings” at a luxury resort in Malibu, California, in 2019, records show.
Reform LA Jails spent $10,179 on items listed as “meetings and appearances” at the Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club in Malibu and an additional $15,593 at the resort’s Malibu Conference Center between July and September of 2019, according to campaign finance records.
Rooms at the resort, which sits on a 250-acre ranch in Malibu wine country along the coastline, start at around $600 per night.
A consulting firm owned by Asha Bandele made the payments on behalf of Reform LA Jails, according to the records, which were first reported by the Daily Caller News Foundation. Bandele co-authored Cullors’ biography titled, “When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir.”
California’s Fair Political Practices Commission states that campaign funds must be used for “political, legislative or governmental” purposes. Details of the $26,000 spent on “meetings and appearances” at the resort and conference center remain unclear.
Organizers created Reform LA Jails to support a 2020 LA ballot initiative called Measure R to give the L.A. County Sheriff’s civilian oversight commission subpoena power “to effectively and independently investigate misconduct and to develop a plan to reduce jail populations and to redirect the cost savings into alternatives to incarceration,” according to the group’s website.
LA County jails in 2019 recorded an average of 300 inmates processed every day, totaling about 109,500 inmates per year. Voters in 2020 voted overwhelmingly in favor of Measure R, which Reform LA Jails argues will help end mass incarceration by reducing the county’s prison population.
“Mass incarceration is the civil rights issue of our time,” the organization’s website states. “Our criminal justice system profoundly discriminates against people of color and unfairly punishes the poor and low-income members of our communities.”
Cullors has described herself and BLM co-founder Alicia Garza as “trained Marxists.”
The new report comes after it was revealed that Cullors is moving another nonprofit, Dignity and Power Now, to operate in other states as it avoids filing required financial documents in California, according to state records. Dignity and Power Now is currently delinquent in California, where it is incorporated.
Black Lives Matter also recently defended Cullors’ recent multimillion-dollar property purchases in a statement posted to its website, suggesting any scrutiny of the high-profile activist stemmed from racism.
“Patrisse’s work for Black people over the years has made her and others who align with the fight for Black liberation targets of racist violence. The narratives being spread about Patrisse have been generated by right-wing forces intent on reducing the support and influence of a movement that is larger than any one organization,” BLM said.
The group continued: “This right-wing offensive not only puts Patrisse, her child and her loved ones in harm’s way, it also continues a tradition of terror by [W]hite supremacists against Black activists.”
Fox News’ David Rutz and Joe Schoffstall contributed to this report.