Occupy Wall Street bank statement shows $99,000 balance, expenses for housing, property damage, bail

David Martosko Executive Editor
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The Daily Caller has obtained a copy of a December 2011 bank statement mailed to Occupy Wall Street, the anti-capitalist protest group whose leaders’ rallying cry positions them as defenders of America’s less-privileged “99 percent.” But the organization’s bank balance in December may instead re-cast the occupiers as defenders of the $99,000.

The bank statement was mailed to the organization at a box rented in a UPS Store on Fulton Street in lower Manhattan. On the Dec. 30 closing date, Amalgamated Bank reported $99,549.58 in the account, including $23,120 in deposits during that month alone.

Amalgamated is owned by the Workers United labor union.

TheDC has also obtained copies of two December statement pages from a second bank account owned by an Occupy Wall Street-affiliated organization called Friends of Liberty Park. Those pages show records of nine checks and ten cash withdrawals, all signed by Pete Dutro, the group’s leader and Occupy Wall Street’s financial manager at the time.

While the materials clearly reflect two separate bank accounts, only the last two digits of their nine-digit account numbers are different. TheDC has redacted its copies of the documents to remove those account numbers.

Sources who provided TheDC with copies of the bank statements also provided a copy of meeting minutes from a Feb. 17 gathering of an Occupy Wall Street subgroup called “OWS Reform.” Notes taken during the meeting include an observation that the Friends of Liberty Park account “went from $310,168.74 at 12/01 to $147,040.15 at 12/30,” reflecting a loss of more than half the account’s value during the month of December.

“Why not call an independent auditor and have them go over the books?” the minutes ask. Criticizing the movement’s self-anointed finance officers, they complain that a lack of access to the movement’s bank accounts “gives them hierarchy in a supposedly leaderless movement.”

“The issue is people don’t trust accounting.”

Dutro, 36, is now a New York City tattoo artist. His LinkedIn profile lists “Finance at Occupy Wall Street” as a “former” occupation.

Cash withdrawals from the Friends of Liberty Park account in December totaled $115,500. While one $7,500 withdrawal was cryptically earmarked for “Edmonton” and another $17,000 was removed from the account for “kitchen” and “sanitation,” most of the expenses were for food and “petty [cash].”

Two withdrawal slips — one for $4,000 — included notes reflecting the the cash was for “bail.”

Expenses paid by check in December include $9,310 to two Manhattan churches for “housing” and $8,564 to Lisa Guido for “t-shirts.”

Guido, according to an October online profile of t-shirt printers in the Occupy movement, is the lead volunteer in the Occupy Wall Street Screenprinting Lab. Slogans on t-shirts displayed on a Flickr Web page belonging to the lab include “Corporations are not people,” “Don’t buy, Let’s occupy” and “Fight back world wide: Capitalism is the crisis.”

Friends of Liberty Park paid Dr. Shay K. Bey $508 on December 20 for what the check writer called “damaged property.” Bey lives in a historic building adjacent to Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem.

Another check, for $7,400, went to Zak Solomon Miller, a 2009 University of California Berkeley graduate whose Facebook profile identifies him as an Occupy Wall Street employee.

That check’s memo field describes the payment as being related to “GA” [general assembly] and “DA” [direct action] expenses on December 13. An online summary of that day’s Occupy Wall Street general assembly notes the approval of a $7,400 expenditure “for supplies for D17 [December 17, 2011] Action.”

On December 17, which marked the end of the Occupy movement’s first three months, New York City police arrested at least 49 protesters during that “action,” which organizers called a “re-occupy” rally. The Associated Press reported that protesters “scaled a chain-link fence or crawled under it to get to an Episcopal church-owned lot they want to use for a new camp site.”

As some protesters were arrested, the AP said, others “shouted obscenities and hollered: ‘Make them catch you!'”

During the same Dec. 13 Occupy Wall Street general assembly that funded the “direct action,” online records show, activists representing an “Occupy Farms” group proposed a $15,000 expenditure “for start up fund for the farm.” The meeting notes recorded that the proposal was “[t]abled by group due to lack of GA participants.”

But on Dec. 21, $15,000 was withdrawn from the Friends of Liberty Park account. The bank counter slip reflects that the money was for “GA proposals for … farms.”

The electronic newspaper The Daily reported on Dec. 15 that a group of Occupy activists had begun to cultivate land, commune-style, on a 56-acre former dairy farm in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains.

The $15,000 windfall, The Daily’s article said, “would be earmarked for farm tools, beds for 50 people and outreach funds to recruit other farms in other states, including Massachusetts and Florida.”

The two bank accounts reflected in the documents obtained by The Daily Caller are not the only ones the Occupy Wall Street movement has had. In October, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union was home to another Occupy account, also opened by Friends of Liberty Park.

The credit union made news when it decided to include Occupy Wall Street among the honorees at a 25th anniversary dinner partially underwritten by a $5,000 donation from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The Occupy movement has referred to bankers as “evil,” among other less polite adjectives.

According to the New York Post, Pete Dutro and another Occupy leader stayed at Manhattan’s $700-per-night W Hotel Downtown after police emptied Zuccotti Park in November. One of the hotel’s marketing slogans is “Unleash your inner Gordon Gekko.”

Dutro did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Read the Occupy Wall Street bank statements and the activists’ discussion minutes: