Human Blunder Loses Occupy Wall Street $144,000

Oct 11, 2011 5:59pm

Occupy Wall Street is anxiously waiting to find out if it will recoup $144,000 in credit card donations that were rejected over three days when the  group’s online account, which is handled by an external fiscal agent, was temporarily frozen due to human error.

The Alliance For Global Justice, which was retained 10 days ago by Occupy Wall Street to manage the processing of online donations, first blamed one of the entities Occupy Wall Street is protesting –  Authorize.net, owned by Visa — for the rejected donations and the freezing of another $40,000.

“I can’t help but believe that politics must be involved somewhere,” said Kathy Hoyt, a founding member of AFGJ, in a statement posted online that has since been removed, after the group realized it was its own blunder.

Chuck Kaufman, a national coordinator at AFGJ who is working hand-in-hand with the movement’s finance team, told ABCNews.com today that his organization simply wasn’t used to processing so many donations.

“Our group normally processes a dozen donations a week, so all of a sudden Occupy Wall Street took off and it was 400 per day,” Kaufman said. “We just didn’t understand the banking architecture. We’ve never done anything on this scale before. I guess we should have communicated this to E-Onlinedata in the beginning.”

The sudden surge of activity acted as  a red flag to E-Onlinedata, the company that acts as an intermediary between the cardholders and the banks. Kaufman said the company rejected $144,000 in donations and froze $40,000 that had already been donated but not yet pocketed by the group.

“I don’t blame the credit card companies for wondering what was going on,” he said. “Essentially they’re liable for any donations they process, so I understand where they’re coming from.”

E-Onlinedata did not return ABCNews.com’s request for comment at the end of their business day.

Kaufman’s group receives 7 percent of the Occupy Wall Street donations that it processes. Out of that, he estimated that 4 percent went to E-Onlinedata, leaving the Alliance for Global Justice with a total of 3 percent.

He stressed it’s not a profit, though.

“When Occupy Wall Street is gone in two years and the IRS comes knocking, we’re the ones who will provide the accounting,” he said.

 

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