Tuesday, 8 November 2011

#OccupySLC State Street Update: Hurry Up And Wait

As of yesterday, the situation seemed to be that #OccupySLC was set to lose its second camp, currently still standing in the vacant lot at 147 S. State Street that used to be the Radio City Lounge and for the last two years has rotted away in weed-and-trash-choked desolation. A representative of the property management company that "maintains" the lot...

That's some quality maintenance

...told #OccupySLC campers to vacate the area or be arrested for trespassing. The #Occupants, who had removed trash and weeds from the area before setting up about eight tents when inclement weather forced them away from their original post in front of the Salt Lake City branch of the Federal Reserve, decided yesterday that they would stay and face arrest "at daybreak" today (as the SLPD put it).

Taking them at their word, I showed up this morning around 7:00 AM MST. So did four carloads of media on stakeout (and numerous other journalists who drifted through during the morning):

The assembled #Occupants were ready:

#OccupySLC Base Camp at Pioneer Park sent over the world's largest thermos of coffee, and numerous people (including  Deb Henry ) also brought assorted goodies. People made signs, shook off the night, and everyone waited for what we thought would be the imminent arrival of the police.

And we waited.

Jesse Fruhwirth has an epic blog post about Leo F. Wells, the president of the trust company that owns the lot and threatened to have #Occupants arrested. A choice bit (read the whole thing):

...the entire investment vehicle appears to be a scam for Mr. Wells to skim off the top to the detriment of his investors. The real estate trust - that is to say, the investors, many 99 percenters - are charged 4.5 percent for maintenance of the properties owned by the trust while independent sources say 1.5 percent is customary in that industry.

Yikes! Jesse also tracked down Mr. Wells' phone number (not replicated here as the SLPD is apparently already negotiating with Wells' company and there has already been a deluge of calls this AM):

A gentleman actually showed up and wanted to put in an offer to buy the lot and let #Occupants stay, apparently out of a truly epic sense of mischief and Quixotic do-goodery, but it didn't pan out. Still, it was nice of him to try (that's him on the phone):

So we waited to either hear from Mr. Wells' duly appointed representative or the SLPD.

...and we waited...

...and what was the outcome?

According to the Salt Lake Tribune (and reports we heard second hand from Lt. Ross) the police are currently in a "holding pattern." Has Wells blinked? Is the SLPD going to come through like a jolly jack-booted Santa Claus and deliver #Occupants a compromise?

We'll see!

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