Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Occupy Charlotte: Where do the donations go?
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Occupy Charlotte protestors seem to be settling into their community outside the old city hall. Supporters are even sending them mail to Trade Street.
There's also a donation booth on the grounds, a few steps away from police headquarters.
"This is a book we started several days ago," said Don Faix, one of the occupiers. He's a retiree who believes in the movement, and he says, financial disclosure.
He showed WBTV how each donation is logged, with the initials of two protestors to account for it. The day of their most recent march, more than $200 dollars came in to support the cause.
"The public will know everything about our finances. That's one of our goals," he said.
Just not right away. Another voice of the movement, Luis Rodriguez, did not want to discuss total donations amounts.
"I'm afraid I can't really say. That number is being tallied by fundraising," said Rodriguez.
He said the fundraising committee is also working on project to allow people to make online donations. It's a signal the movement wants to grow.
But there's a problem. Occupy Charlotte doesn't have a bank account. Protestors say they are in the process of starting one.
There's also conflict over the name. Occupy Charlotte is registered with the city as a sole proprietorship under their former spokesperson, Thomas Shope. The group ousted him last week amid accusations coming from both parties.
While the group works to sort out legal obligations, the donations are building.
"When we have money come in, right now it's going into a general coffer," said Rodriguez. He said the donations pay for things like megaphones and fliers. He also said they hope to buy winter clothing and winterize their tents.
It sounds like a group not going anywhere soon.
Much like the business culture they rail against, as Occupy Charlotte grows, so will its financial accountability.
The group says it will register as a non-profit, which means those dollars must be reported. The donors would get a tax write off.