Is Occupy Wall Street the top 1 percent?
As New York City’s protesters enjoy gourmet dinners, down blankets and a flat-screen TV, their counterparts in other cities are left shivering — and envious.
Occupy Wall Street’s New York encampment has amassed nearly half a million dollars — $480,000 — since they first started, according to Brooklynite Pete Dutro, 36, of the organization’s finance committee.
But New York protesters haven’t shared one cent with other Occupy camps set up across the nation.
“We could definitely use [New York’s funds],” Vernon Johnson, a volunteer at Occupy Philly, said yesterday. “What’s the point of collecting money if you’re not releasing it to the people you’re trying to help?”
“We need money bad,” agreed fellow Philadelphia protester Kate Corbett. Occupy Philly has raised $10,000.
Most of New York’s money comes from individual donors, who give an average of $50 each, Dutro surmised. So far, the Wall Street camp has spent about $66,000 of that money on computers, credit card processing fees, food and medical supplies, he said.
“Most of the money is still in the bank,” said Wylie Stecklow, 40, the finance group’s attorney.
And even though OWS has quite a coffer, some protesters gripe that it’s not trickling down fast enough.
Last week, when drums were damaged and stolen from the drum circle, the New York General Assembly voted not to spend money to replace them.
“We’ve been an important part of this movement,” said frustrated drummer John Eustor, 46, of Asbury Park, N.J. “I’m done with the meetings. We’ve just stopped giving them our donations.”
—with Alexandra Wigglesworth
Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro for in-depth coverage of Occupy Wall Street.