Turns out Black Lives Matter bought a $6 million California mansion

By James McClain | Dirt

Although it was not reported at the time, New York Magazine revealed that in October 2020, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation – often abbreviated to BLMGNF or simply BLM – spent nearly $6 million on funds donated to a luxurious estate in Studio City, an upscale neighborhood in Los Angeles.

The all-cash deal was reached five months after the killing of George Floyd sparked nationwide protests and widespread donations to various BLM chapters. In February 2021, BLM financial filings revealed that the organization had raised over $90 million in 2020 alone, making $6 million ownership a drop in the proverbial bucket.

But the purchase has drawn criticism, both for the scale of the ownership and because BLM apparently took steps to prevent the transaction from going public. And it’s not the first time the organization has come under scrutiny for lavish real estate spending; In April 2021, Dirt reported that BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors had purchased a residential complex in Los Angeles’ Topanga Canyon. The New York Post later revealed that the Topanga property was just part of the $3.2 million luxury real estate portfolio that Cullors amassed while he was executive director of BLM.

Cullors, for his part, called the reports of his home purchases “misinformation and harassment from the right-wing media.” She also said she was “currently in survival mode” in a May 2021 YouTube video that was filmed in the $6 million realm, which BLM had yet to publicly acknowledge.

Grant deeds reviewed by Dirt appear to indicate that the existence of the Studio City property has been deliberately concealed. Rather than being acquired directly by the BLM organization, the property was purchased by a man named Dyane Pascall, a little-known CFO who once worked for Cullors and at least one other BLM executive. Pascall apparently wasn’t keen on getting a discount on the big spread — he paid the sellers’ asking price of $5.9 million.

Just three days after his big purchase, records show Pascall donated 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 officers and members of LLCs are not required to be publicly traded. In high-end real estate transactions, Delaware LLCs are commonly used by people seeking to conceal their ownership of luxury homes.

From ownership records alone, it is almost impossible to determine who actually owns 3726 Laurel Canyon LLC. But it should be noted that the entity lists its mailing address as the Washington DC 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 domain, known internally as “Campus.”

The property does not currently serve as anyone’s personal residence, although BLM executives have stayed at the house from time to time, and Cullors has previously filmed several (now deleted) videos for his personal YouTube channel on the property.

But even aside from the recent controversy, the property has a unique appearance and history, unique to Los Angeles. Sold to BLM by evangelical Christian minister and televangelist Shawn Bolz and his wife Cherie, the main house dates to the mid-1930s and is said to have once hosted Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe as overnight guests. More than 300 television spots, episodes and films have been shot, in whole or in part, in the green premises.

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Although located on a busy street, the house is quite private. Two large entrance gates keep out unwanted guests, and a towering array of hedges and mature trees shield much of the property from public view.

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Considered the ultimate “living/working complex,” the 1930s Colonial-style home is surrounded by a black driveway and dedicated parking spaces for more than 20 cars.

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Completely modernized and renovated, the kitchen offers high-end Thermador appliances, a wine fridge and a stone island.

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There is also a spacious pantry for storing excess food.

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The living/dining/great room combo has sets of French doors that spill out onto the gardens.

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Upstairs, the master suite has hardwood floors and a fireplace.

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There is also a completely renovated bathroom with a bathtub and a marble shower.

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Behind the house, a large brick patio can accommodate dozens of people dining outdoors; just beyond is an outdoor fireplace clad in Italian marble.

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Nestled next to the house is an organic vegetable garden.

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At the time of its sale to BLM, the 0.74 acre area also included grassy lawns and a built-in children’s play set.

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A white gate set into an imposing wall of hedges separates the main house and its grounds from the rear half of the property, where there is a guardhouse/caretaker.

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Just beyond this cabin is a reflecting pool surrounded by another brick patio.

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Also on the back half of the property is a 2,300 square foot space that is currently a largely designed soundstage, but could also be a music or dance studio, according to the listing. A separate control room monitors the shoot from above.

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There is also a foyer to welcome guests, as well as a separate guest house with two bedrooms and a bathroom.

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