Meet OWS’s (Unofficial) Brooklyn Accountant

Home Brooklyn Life Meet OWS’s (Unofficial) Brooklyn Accountant

Our reporter Ravi Kumar caught up with Peter Dutro, a Brooklynite who helps manage finance at Occupy Wall Street.

Over $1,000 is spent every day on food for over 5,000 people at Occupy Wall Street (Ravi Kumar/ The Brooklyn Ink)

Peter Dutro, 36, of Brooklyn is one of the members of the finance committee at Occupy Wall Street. Dutro, a business technology management undergraduate at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, has been helping the protest since September 20. He is well-built and wears reading glasses. He works part-time as a tattoo artist in Queens. He spoke with The Brooklyn Ink’s Ravi Kumar last night at Zuccotti Park.




The Brooklyn Ink: How much do you receive in donations daily?  

Peter Dutro: In the boxes, we have been getting $7,000 a day. And a lot of online donations. But there are some issues with the accounts, we are waiting (for funds) to be released by our fiscal sponsor.

The  Ink: How much have  you received overall so far?  

Dutro: We have a little over $100,000.

The Ink: And where does the money go?

Dutro: Food is our biggest expense. We spend roughly $1,000 every day.

The Ink: Are there any plans for the future and what you will do with the money?

Dutro: There is a lot of thinking about long-term sustainability in the minds of a lot of people. We haven’t made any decisions. We are trying to figure out a way to have a body that deals with financial decisions.

The Ink: Do you have an official title?

Dutro: We have no leader, so we really don’t have titles.

The Ink: How did you get involved in the finance committee?

Dutro: Basically Victoria Sobel (one of the members of the committee) started a finance committee. I heard her plead day in, day out for help. I felt so bad for her. Finally, I felt morally compelled to help her.

The Ink: How many people are there in the finance committee?

Dutro: There are six people.

The Ink: How are duties assigned in your committee?

Dutro: Well, we use responsibility assignment metrics, a tool that is used to assign tasks. Very often, we need to report to a legal or fiscal sponsor. We define tasks and we put in the time frame.

The Ink: Who is your fiscal sponsor?

Occupy Wall Street, the newspaper: The Numbers (Source: KickStarter)

Dutro: The fiscal sponsor is Alliance for Global Justice, a 501c3 organization.

The Ink: How do you get funds?

Dutro: The money comes through the donations. We have been getting lots of online donations.  Although we’ve been having some trouble with our online accounts.

The Ink: What kind of trouble?

Dutro: When we were first trying to organize and figure out the banking aspect, it was very ad-hoc. People were just doing things. We have now got our paperwork in order and are organized. It’s really chaotic, really hard to do something like accounting.

The Ink: When do you have meetings?

Dutro: It’s been a little hard for us to meet at the same time because most people in finance committee have a job. Usually, we have been meeting after general assembly meetings at night.

The Ink: How are you going to make sure you are spending responsibly?

Dutro: That is why we have budget proposals.

The Ink: Are your transactions public?

Dutro: We are in the process of making it public. In the next couple of days, we are going to post it online.

The Ink: There has been a concern that the issue of sanitation has been ignored in the park. Given the large donations, why are there no portable restrooms here?

Dutro: We are not allowed to have structures in the park. Talk to Mayor Bloomberg about this, and give us the permit.





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