Last week, Black Lives Matter (BLM) activist Monica Cannon-Grant and her husband Clark Grant, founders of a local nonprofit, Violence in Boston (VIB), “were charged in an 18-count indictment with two counts of wire fraud conspiracy; one count of conspiracy; 13 counts of wire fraud; and one count of making false statements to a mortgage lending business. The indictment also charges Cannon-Grant with one count of mail fraud,” by a federal grand jury.
Allegedly, the couple “used grant and donation money to pay for personal expenses including, among other things, hotel reservations; groceries; gas; car rentals; auto repairs; Uber rides; restaurants; food deliveries; nail salons; and personal travel,” per a statement released by the U.S. attorney’s office. Cannon-Grant was released without bail after being arrested last Tuesday and is allowed to continue working at her nonprofit, but is barred from handling anything finance related.
Cannon-Grant’s rise to eminence in the BLM community in Boston began in May 2020 after the murder of George Floyd and organizing “a march in Franklin Park that drew thousands of people to protest the deaths of Black people at the hands of police,” and helping provide more than 1,000 free meals a day in collaboration with Food for the Soul, a restaurant in Dorchester, to aid the needy throughout the pandemic.
Cannon-Grant’s efforts led to her being lauded “as a Bostonian of the Year by the Boston Globe Magazine and hailed as the city’s ‘best social justice advocate’ by Boston Magazine.” She has been oft considered a powerbroker of sorts within the Boston Democratic political party and had “reportedly established a close working relationship with Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu when the two served on the Boston City Council. Former Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III hailed Cannon-Grant’s endorsement of his failed 2020 Senate campaign.”
On her podcast, Cannon-Grant vociferously refuted the allegations, countering that her enemies were envious and “partnered with white supremacy…In 2020, we went from a $40,000, $50,000 a year organization to a [multimillion-dollar] organization — more money, more problems…The moment funding started coming in and the world started seeing us doing the work, which prompted awards and accolades, it was, ‘I want what she got. She don’t deserve it…This is what happens when you’re successful…This is what happens when you don’t accept mediocrity. This is what happens when you’re successful and nobody can explain your success because it’s not theirs to explain.”
“We don’t know the nature or scope of any investigation but can confirm that both Monica and Violence in Boston are fully cooperating with any and all informational requests so that any investigation can be swiftly wrapped up and Monica and Violence in Boston can focus solely on their important work,” said Rob Goldstein, VIB’s lawyer.
Founder of BLM Rhode Island, Gary Dantzler has come to Cannon-Grant’s defense, saying “[t]here’s no way a woman with these accolades could do this…This has nothing to do with white America…It’s Black America. Black America is fighting amongst each other for the crumbs. The community was upset about her progress. It’s not a lot of Black people. It’s just a few. They ambushed her and told lies about her. ‘She stole money.’ That’s false. That’s a lie. She didn’t steal anything. The Black people who said that about her are seriously dead wrong and they should be ashamed of themselves. She came to the aid of each last one of them.”