Message from – The Occupied Office Coordination Team #occupyDear Comrades,
We are so sad to inform you that due to an anonymous complaint to the Department of Buildings, the Occupied Office will be operating temporarily in a very limited capacity. Until further notice, the office will be closed, with the following exception:
Accounting will continue to have office hours 1-5 pm Tuesday – Saturday. Accounting will ONLY be open to Accounting point people. Please only send those people to the office.
We will be keeping this website updated with all the information we have as we receive it. Please check that for here to keep you and our fellow occupiers informed. You are also welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Here is the back-story to what is going on:
The following complaint was registered by the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB):
“A CULT COMMUNITY, FOUR OR FIVE PEOPLE ARE USING THE 12 FLOOR AS A RESIDENCE ILLEGALLY, USING TENTS AND SLEEPING BAGS”
It appears that the complaint was made anonymously via 311 (NYC government’s public hotline), and it was registered by the DOB under ‘category code’ 1A, which reads “ILLEGAL CONVERSION COMMERCIAL BLDG/SPACE TO DWELLING UNITS.”
The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) is responsible for overseeing that all buildings in New York City are compliant with both zoning laws and their Certificate of Occupancy (COO). When the DOB registers complaints, they are obligated to investigate them.
Obviously, the complaint is ridiculous and does not reflect how we are using the 12th floor office space. However, the building management is taking this very seriously, as they do every investigation. Essentially, if the Occupied Office is found to be in violation of any pieces of the COO, then the building itself is also considered to be in non-compliance, and can be shut down entirely.
The building management has requested that the office be temporarily limited to essential staff only, and limited to a very small number of people. Because so many working groups are dependent on having access to funds through Accounting, we have decided that “essential” staff is the Office Coordination Team, Accounting, and those who are visiting Accounting.
To be clear, these measures are only being taken until we are able to sit down with building management, get a better understanding of the DOB investigation process. We hope to be able to resume normal operations soon.
Ultimately, it may become clear that the culture and needs of OWS are simply incompatible with the office space at 50 Broadway, and need to find new workspace to accommodate the efforts of the Working Groups currently utilizing the Occupied Office. But, we are not in a position to take make that determination yet.
Lastly, we want to remind everyone that this building is owned by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) who have provided generous support and solidarity to OWS. The UFT considers us (as we consider them) allies and have bent over backwards to accommodate us. The building management works for UFT and is in no way the enemy here, and should never be treated as such.
As we said earlier, we will keep you apprised of the situation as it develops and we are very sorry for the inconvenience.
Thanks so much!
The Occupied Office Coordination Team
Bianca, Evangelina, Gregg, and Kelly