The Occupy Wall Street crowd is battering JPMorgan Chase for a posting on its website about the $4.6M donation it made to the New York City Police Foundation, the biggest gift in the Foundation’s history. It's pitched as an untimely blowing of one's own horn.
Gleefully, Occupiers depict the gift as a direct payoff to New York’s Finest who have been pepper spraying, beating and tricking them into a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge, a mass constitutional that resulted in the arrest of 700 protesters.
The release quotes JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon thanking the police for “putting their lives on the line each day to keep us safe.”
Safe from the rabble?
While Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, in turn, expresses his “profound gratitude” to the bank. It’s not clear if Ray genuflected before the JPMorgan Chase boss. The cash also paid for “security monitoring software” that would make George Orwell proud of the NYPD’s Lower Manhattan Security Initiative. Smile, you’re on NYPD TV.
This blogger is not a defender of greedy banking giants like Dimon’s outfit that triggered the financial collapse that has thrown millions of people worldwide out-of-work. The bank does have an “out” in the donation flap.
In a bone-headed oversight, the bank’s crackerjack web team did not date the release. Others are dated, which makes the Foundation release stick out like a sore thumb. That leaves a great opening for the media-savvy Occupiers to call the NYPDF money a tit-for-tat gift. In other words, Dimon has purchased his own security team or “goon squad” to put down the protest.
A Chase spokesperson, who did not want to be identified, told me today that the donation, a mix of cash, equipment and other “resources,” starting flowing to the Foundation at the end of 2010 and ended during the first-half of this year. Chase posted the gift “sometime during the summer” during the website overhaul. The spokesperson stressed that the donation was made well-before plans for the Wall Street occupation become public.
When I suggested that JPMorgan Chase could demolish the payoff angle of the Occupiers by dating the release, the PR executive said, “You are 100 percent right.”
Let’s see if JPMorgan Chase follows up.