Trinity Wall Street Vestry’s 1% Connections
As Trinity Wall Street Episcopal Church has continued to resist providing the Occupy Wall Street movement access to the vacant Duarte Square, their explanations have seemed increasingly obscure.
In his most recent statement, Trinity’s Rector Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper casually dismissed Occupy’s argument for generic “health, safety and security problems,” and he denigrated the protesters he allowed to be arrested, saying ”they were not seeking sanctuary; they were seeking to be arrested.”
The reasoning has raised questions among many in the New York faith and Occupy communities about whether Trinity’s real opposition stems from being too culturally and organizationally too aligned with the 1%.
An analysis of Trinity’s vestry (the governing board that manages the parish’s affairs) lends some significant weight to these concerns. Marked as up-to-date as of May 6, 2011, the vestry list reads as a who’s-who of the rich and powerful in New York, including Wall Street bankers, media and real estate executives, and in the most telling case, a former executive vice president of Brookfield Properties, the company that owns Zuccotti Park and pressured the city to evict the occupiers in the first place. (See the full list below).
Importantly, in the Episcopal polity, the parish vestry has full legal control over property — which is a big deal for a church that reportedly has $10 billion in real estate assets. It also means that this small group of people (many of whom are not members of Trinity) are making the final decision about whether to open Duarte Square.
This new information puts Trinity’s ongoing decisions and communications in a new light.
Click here for a full list of the Trinity vestry (pdf):
Manager, Retirement Plans, AIG, Inc.
Partner, Frommer, Lawrence & Haug LLP
Global Head of Real Estate, Citigroup
General Counsel, Energy Intelligence Group
Dr. Michael Gilligan
President, Henry Luce Foundation
Executive Vice President (Retired), Brookfield Office Properties
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Park Agency, Inc.
Chairman (Retired), Government Finance Associates, Inc.
Founder and CEO, LCJ Solutions
Vice President for Development and Communications, The New York Academy of Medicine
Director of Planning and Regional Development, Port Authority of NY and NJ
Dr. Westina Matthews Shatteen
Managing Director (Retired), Merrill Lynch
Vice President (Retired), Princeton University
Executive Editor, Random House
Partnership Officer for Asia and the Pacific
The Episcopal Church Center
Associate, Thomas Phifer and Partners
President and CEO, Church Pension Fund
General Counsel-CIB Americas, BNP Paribas
Mary White, MD
Medical Director, Weill Cornell clinic for Human Rights, Weill cornell Medical College
Photo credit: wwritter, Flickr