Although it wasn’t reported at the time, New York Magazine has revealed that back in October 2020, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation — often abbreviated BLMGNF or just BLM — spent nearly $6 million in donated funds on a luxurious estate in Studio City, an upscale Los Angeles neighborhood.
The all-cash deal closed five months after George Floyd’s murder sparked nationwide protests and widespread donations to various BLM chapters. In February 2021, BLM financial documents revealed the organization raised more than $90 million in 2020 alone, making the $6 million property splurge a drop in the proverbial bucket.
But the purchase has engendered criticism, both for the property’s scale and because BLM apparently took strides to prevent the transaction from becoming public knowledge. And it’s not the first time that the org has faced scrutiny over lavish real estate spending; back in April 2021, Dirt broke the story that BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors had purchased a residential compound in L.A.’s Topanga Canyon. The New York Post subsequently revealed that the Topanga property was just one piece of the $3.2 million luxury real estate portfolio Cullors had amassed while serving as an executive director of BLM.
Cullors, for her part, characterized the reporting about her home purchases as “right-wing media disinformation and harassment.” She also stated that she was “currently in survival mode” in a May 2021 YouTube video that was filmed at the $6 million estate, which BLM hadn’t yet publicly acknowledged.
Grant deeds reviewed by Dirt seem to indicate that the Studio City property’s existence was deliberately concealed. Rather than being acquired outright by the BLM organization, the property was purchased by a man named Dyane Pascall, a little-known financial manager who has previously done work for Cullors and at least one other BLM executive. Pascall apparently wasn’t concerned with getting a discount on the big spread — he paid the sellers’ full $5.9 million asking price.
Just three days after his big purchase, records show Pascall gifted the property to “3726 Laurel Canyon LLC,” a mysterious entity named after the property’s address. The LLC was established in Delaware, known for its corporate secrecy and one of the only states in which the managers and members of LLCs are not required to be publicly listed. In high-end real estate transactions, Delaware LLCs are commonly used by people seeking to disguise their ownership of luxury homes.
From property records alone, it’s nearly impossible to determine who actually owns 3726 Laurel Canyon LLC. But it’s worth noting that the entity lists its mailing address as the Washington D.C. headquarters of Perkins Coie LLP, an international law firm that has previously represented BLM in various legal disputes. And this month, amid mounting media pressure, a BLM spokeswoman finally confirmed that the organization owns the estate, which is known internally as the “Campus.”
The property does not currently serve as anyone’s personal residence, though BLM executives have reportedly stayed at the house from time to time, and Cullors has previously filmed several (now deleted) videos for her personal YouTube channel at the property.
But even aside from the recent controversy, the property has a unique, only-in-L.A. sort of appearance and story. Sold to BLM by Evangelical Christian minister and televangelist Shawn Bolz and his wife Cherie, the main house dates to the mid-1930s and reportedly once hosted the likes of Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe as overnight guests. More than 300 TV commercials, episodes and films have been shot, all or in part, on the leafy premises.