The drummers claim that the finance working group even levied a percussion tax of sorts, taking up to half of the $150-300 a day that the drum circle was receiving in tips. “Now they have over $500,000 from all sorts of places,” said Engelerdt. “We’re like, what’s going on here? They’re like the banks we’re protesting.”
All belongings and money in the park are supposed to be held in common, but property rights reared their capitalistic head when facilitators went to clean up the park, which was looking more like a shantytown than usual after several days of wind and rain. The local community board was due to send in an inspector, so the facilitators and cleaners started moving tarps, bags, and personal belongings into a big pile in order to clean the park.
But some refused to budge. A bearded man began to gather up a tarp and an occupier emerged from beneath, screaming: “You’re going to break my fucking tent, get that shit off!” Near the front of the park, two men in hoodies staged a meta-sit-in, fearful that their belongings would be lost or appropriated.
Daniel Zetah, a 35-year-old lead facilitator from Minnesota, mounted a bench. “We need to clear this out. There are a bunch of kids coming to stay here.” One of the hoodied men fought back: “I’m not giving up my space for fucking kids. They have parents and homes. My parents are dead. This is my space.”
Other organizers were more blunt. “If you don’t want to be part of this group, then you can just leave,” yelled a facilitator in a button-down shirt, “Every week we clean our house.” Seth Harper, the pro-drummer proletarian, chimed in on the side of the sitters. “We disagree on how we should clean it. A lot of us disagree with the pile.” Zetah, tall and imposing with a fiery red beard, closed debate with a sigh. “We’re all big boys and girls. Let’s do this.” As he told me afterwards, “A lot of people are like spoiled children.” The cure? A cold snap. “Personally, I cannot wait for winter. It will clear out these people who aren’t here for the right reasons. Bring on the snow. The real revolutionaries will stay in -50 degrees.”
“The sunshine protestors will leave,” said “Zonkers,” a 20-year-old cleaner and longtime occupier from Tennessee. (He asked that his name not be used due to a felony marijuana conviction.) “The people who remain are the people who care. You get a lot of crust punks, silly kids, people who want to panhandle … It disgusts me. These people are here for a block party.”
Home for the holidays.Comments »
Not mentioned in this article is the breaking news that this car only gets 20 mpg when running on the gasoline engine…
With the approval of the Obama administration, an electric car company that received a $529 million federal government loan guarantee is assembling its first line of cars in Finland, saying it could not find a facility in the United States capable of doing the work.
Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department’s $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the job of assembling the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car has been outsourced to Finland.
“There was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle,” the car company’s founder and namesake told ABC News. “They don’t exist here.”
Henrik Fisker said the U.S. money so far has been spent on engineering and design work that stayed in the U.S., not on the 500 manufacturing jobs that went to a rural Finnish firm, Valmet Automotive.
“We’re not in the business of failing; we’re in the business of winning. So we make the right decision for the business,” Fisker said. “That’s why we went to Finland.”
Read the rest here.Comments »
He is reported to be wounded…story developingComments »
Driving from Vermont to New York City for the seventh annual Value Investing Congress this week, I realized just how far off the beaten path we are in the rural Green Mountains.
The six-hour drive was a bit longer than expected, thanks to the more frequent stops that are required when traveling with a small child. This was the first time I’ve traveled to the Big Apple since our son was born in mid-2010.
While I often feel that I’m best positioned to evaluate the financial markets and individual stocks from the quiet comfort of our Vermont office, every once in a while I need a dose of new ideas from like-minded investors. The first day at the Value Investing Congress was exactly what I needed.
In this market, stock prices have been incredibly volatile. My economic outlook and investment approach has become more cautious in the last six months. As a result, I’ve been favoring value-oriented investments in this time of increased uncertainty due to the possibility for slower economic growth in the U.S. and rising European sovereign debt concerns.
Little did I know that I would drive 300 miles to attend a hedge fund investor conference to hear a presentation slamming a company located just 30 miles from my home in Vermont.
The best presentation of the first day, on Monday, came from David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital. Einhorn started his hedge fund in 1996 with less than $1 million in assets, and has grown his funds to over $8 billion today.
Value investors around the world know Einhorn for his book titled “Fooling Some of the People All of the Time” and his famous call to “short-sell” Lehman Brothers back in 2007 (a recommendation that he first shared at the Value Investing Congress). At last year’s New York City Congress event, Einhorn revealed his “short” interest in The St. Joe Company (NYSE: JOE). He’s since battled publicly with Bruce Berkowitz of The Fairholme Fund (FAIRX), who has taken over St. Joe Co. as chairman. (JOE shares have since dropped 21 percent in the last year).
Einhorn’s 110-slide presentation to the room of value investors – that included hedge fund managers, mutual fund managers, large private investors, and lowly investment newsletter editors – was titled “GAAP-uccino,” and revealed his bearish case for shares ofGreen Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR).
It’s no surprise that Green Mountain Coffee is attracting the interest of short-sellers. After all, shares of the maker of the Keurig coffee machines and K-Cup single-serve coffee were up 172 percent year-to-date in 2011 (before Einhorn’s presentation). That alone is enough to get short-sellers excited.
But Einhorn didn’t build his successful hedge fund simply by short-selling stocks that have risen dramatically in price. And his research into Green Mountain Coffee appears to be exhaustive – including “channel checks” and numerous interviews with current and former employees at Green Mountain Coffee and its partners.
Green Mountain Coffee has been a darling among growth investors who see the rapid top-line revenue growth as an indication of a future gravy train of profits. The company has evolved from a small coffee roasting company into a maker of single serve coffee machines.
The company’s business model has evolved and today resembles that of the “razors and razorblades” model used by the likes of Gillette. This means that Green Mountain is selling coffee machines at or near its cost (essentially making little or no profit), while getting consumers hooked on its single serve K-Cup product. As a result, all that really matters for Green Mountain is how successful the company is at penetrating the market and then selling K-Cups (the “razors”) to customers.
Einhorn’s research indicates that Green Mountain Coffee has already achieved significant market penetration and that the addressable market may be smaller than forecast by the company and bullish analysts.
Currently, K-Cups sell for around $0.85 apiece. They’re a bargain compared with a latte from Starbucks, but expensive relative to making a pot in your Mr. Coffee Machine. The Keurig machines are similarly expensive, making them an unaffordable coffee brewing option for many consumers. Einhorn suggests that the affluent early adopters have already purchased their machines, and that growth of the market is smaller than expected.
Similarly, Einhorn believes that the number of K-Cups sold per Keurig machine (known as “attachment rate”) is actually declining. The reason for this is that early adopters of single serve coffee are the biggest coffee drinkers, and new buyers are consuming less.
However, it’s been hard for investors to get a complete understanding of the falling attachment rate, since Green Mountain management has changed its disclosure policy and is no longer providing this information to investors.
Einhorn is publicly critical of Green Mountain’s management team for regularly changing its disclosure in quarterly S.E.C. filings, an effort that he believes is designed to mislead investors and make it difficult to analyze the stock.
In spite of these concerns, investors have embraced GMCR shares. Big deals with Dunkin’ Donuts (Nasdaq: DNKN), Smuckers andStarbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX) sent Green Mountain shares soaring.
However, Einhorn points out that the deals with Starbucks and others are not exclusive. Add on the fact that Green Mountain’s patent on K-Cups expires in September 2012, and he believes that some partners and other competitors will begin making K-Cups for use in the Keurig (less than one year from now, they will be allowed to do so). The introduction of new single serve cups that could be used with Green Mountain’s Keurig will hurt profit margins for the company, as the company’s “virtual monopoly” will come to an end.
Today Green Mountain earns a profit of about $0.15 per K-Cup sold. However, data from its partnership with Smuckers indicates that on sales of these K-Cups for which Green Mountain licenses the Smuckers brand, the profit per K-Cup is around $0.06 – $0.07. With Green Mountain reporting that the Starbucks relationship is similar, investors should be expecting falling profit margins in the future.
Perhaps the most concerning part of Einhorn’s presentation was the feedback he had received from current and former employees at Green Mountain Coffee and its distribution partners. It seems that numerous people who have worked with the company have reported that Green Mountain Coffee uses shipping and transport of both Keurig machines and K-Cups between facilities in order to book revenues in an attempt to meet or beat quarterly financial estimates. Such efforts are considered fraudulent, since the only reason to perform these activities would be to inflate earnings and intentionally mislead investors.
The growth-oriented company also appears to be playing it fast and loose with its financial performance, as highlighted by a recent S.E.C. inquiry and Green Mountain Coffee’s public admission that its accounting systems and processes were not sufficient.
The actions of company insiders are similarly concerning. Thus far in 2011, company “insiders” who are “in the know” have been selling massive amounts of stock. Year-to-date insider sales total an impressive $172 million of stock, allowing management to personally cash in on the rise of GMCR shares.
When will the company’s growth come to an end? It’s hard to say. Green Mountain has been investing heavily in its growth, so much so that the company has had negative cash flow for years. Meanwhile, their capital spending in 2011 is expected to equal 130 percent of net income, and is slated to rise to 200 percent of net income in 2012.
It’s unclear where the S.E.C. investigation into Green Mountain Coffee will lead next. But Einhorn presented a compelling case for staying far away from this growth stock darling. In fact, his recommendation to the Value Investing Congress was clearly to “sell short” GMCR shares. Given the stock’s 10 percent drop yesterday, it appears that many conference attendees (myself included) agreed with the analysis.
Before Einhorn’s presentation, shares of Green Mountain Coffee were trading at 55-times estimated 2011 EPS and 35 times estimated 2012 EPS. Thus far, most investors have accepted those as fair multiples for this high growth stock.
The risk to short-sellers with a stock like GMCR is that the revenue and EPS growth can continue for a long period of time, which can result in a rising share price. That certainly could be the case with Green Mountain Coffee – one of the best performing stocks over the last decade and in 2011. Caution is advised, and short-selling is not for the risk-averse.
However, if Einhorn is correct about even part of his investment thesis presented on Monday, it could spell trouble for GMCR shares. And any one of these issues could send the earnings multiple for the stock crashing.
It appears that there are many potential risks facing GMCR – and its stock – these days.
First there is the market penetration and “attachment rate” issue. Second, there is the patent expiration in just 11 months that could crush profit margins. Third, there are shrinking profit margins from “partnerships” with the likes of Starbucks. Fourth, there is an alleged intentional lack of disclosure from management about the performance of the business. Fifth, there is substantial insider selling. And sixth, there are claims of fraudulent shipping in an attempt to book revenues and profits.
On top of all that, it’s possible that the S.E.C. could step up its investigation into GMCR’s accounting practices at any moment.
Put simply, the risks involved with this stock are very real. And so I personally initiated a “short” position in shares of GMCR yesterday afternoon at $81.13 after hearing Einhorn’s presentation first hand.
Given Einhorn’s track record for calling some of the biggest “shorts” of the decade, I encourage you to do you own homework and dig into Green Mountain.
I’ll be at the Value Investing Congress again today, and will be sharing more takeaway ideas with you in the coming days. Stay tuned.
Full Disclosure: Ian Wyatt “sold short” shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR) following David Einhorn’s presentation on October 17. He intends to add to this position in the coming days.Comments »
Social Security recipients will get a raise in January – their first increase in benefits since 2009. Experts project the increase will be about 3.5 percent, and on Wednesday, about 55 million beneficiaries will find out for sure.
The annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is based on a measure of inflation that Congress adopted in the 1970s. Since then, it has resulted in annual increases averaging 4.2 percent.
There was no COLA in 2010 or 2011 because inflation was too low. That, however, has been small comfort to the millions of retirees and disabled people who have seen their retirement accounts dwindle and their home values drop during the economic downturn.Comments »
China’s foreign ministry said Monday the Occupy Wall Street movement highlights issues that are worth considering, but that debates generated by the protests should promote global economic growth.
The movement began a month ago in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park with loosely organized protests against what demonstrators consider unbridled corporate greed.
It has swelled to include demonstrations on Saturday elsewhere in the U.S. and in Europe involving hundreds of thousands of people. In China, online calls for similar protests did not appear to elicit any responses.
“We feel that there are issues here that are worth pondering,” said Liu Weimin, a foreign ministry spokesman during a regular briefing in Beijing.
“We have also noticed that in the media there has been a lot of commentary, discussion and reflection. But we think that all of these reflections should be conducive to maintaining the sound and steady development of the world economy,” Liu said, without elaborating.
The state-run Global Times newspaper said in an editorial that the Chinese should “calmly observe the protest movement and the global situation, and not be confused by extreme points of view.”
Earlier in the year, anonymous online calls for protests in China inspired by those that have swept across the Middle East and North Africa spooked the Chinese government into launching one of its broadest campaigns of repression in years. The calls for demonstrations every Sunday did not draw any overt protesters.Comments »
Note to readers: I am writing all these posts very informally. I have found that readers like this the best, and it enables me to take the most notes possible and get them up in real time. I will be updating the presentations in real time, and tweeting, so make sure to check back frequently or on Twitter, Facebook or Feedburner. Also you can check out this website announcement Value Investing Congress Website Announcement.
Jim Chanos is the founder and Managing Partner of Kynikos Associates LP, the largest investment firm devoted exclusively to short selling. Throughout his investment career, Jim Chanos has identified and sold short the shares of numerous well-known corporate financial disasters; among them, Baldwin-United, Commodore International, Coleco, Integrated Resources, Boston Chicken, Sunbeam, Conseco, and Tyco International. His celebrated short-sale of Enron shares was dubbed by Barron’sas “the market call of the decade, if not the past fifty years.” He was the first person to predict the collapse the Chinese bubble.
I am going to focus on value traps, which is especially important for long only investors. We have noticed this in certain stocks in the past.
Classic short selling themes:
Booms that go bust. Debt driven, asset inflation; such as Real Estate, Tele-com in the late 90s, CRE in 80s, and RE bubble in China.
What about value traps?
Cyclical and overdependent products
Hindsight drives expectations
Uses non-Gaap metrics
Management explains away accounting issues
Reliance on a super national put, such as dependence on the Government; such as too big to fail.
Cycles can become secular such as auto and steel industry, some might argue airlines.
Fads that have one off hot items- Salton-the George Foreman grill, Renewable energy-solar wind.
Quasi-legal businesses such as online poker. The UK poker companies had some of the silliest financial statements. One of the executives was a former fugitive.
Hindsight driving-This is very important-technological obsolescence. This has killed value investors more than anything in the past 10-20 years. Value investors will think the stock is cheap enough to compensate for decreasing cash flow. Blockbuster had FCF go from $2b to ($500m) in just 18 months. Eastman-Kodak is another good example.
Famous management or investors-A lot of great institutional investors have been involved in Worldcoms and other stocks. Dont let your work stop because someone is on the opposite side of the trade. I drill this into my analysts when they come to my firm.
We are not Warren Buffett acolytes- but I love his quote, “When a management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact.”
Keep looking to see that incentives are aligned and keep doing your work. Sometimes their incentive is to trash the stock to buy at a cheaper price later.
Dont just buy something because it is just cheap on EBITDA basis, such as Cable TV or Blockbuster. Or cheap based on FCF-Tyco. Eastman-Kodak-ignore restructuring charges every year at your own risk. Management kept having restructuring costs every single year. If management is so good why would you need to keep restructuring?
I remember Tyco-run by accounts (that is always a red flag!). Tyco kept ignoring all questions by pointing analysts to their free cash flow. ADT was paying $1,000 routinely, and despite over-paying was showing immediate profits.
Even the published financial statements need to scrutinized, especially if management points you to a specific item repeatedly.
If the accounting issues are confusing stay away. If after three readings of the K, if I cannot understand how the company makes money, I walk away. I couldn’t understand how Bally made money and still can’t.
Dont trust the auditors, if GAAP doesn’t make sense dont buy it. The lenders in 96-97 would sell mortgages to Wall Street, loosing cash, and booking a profit. Because they were allowed to take the present value of certain provisions.
Growth by acquisitions, such as Tyco. When companies use their high PE stock to buy low PE stocks and talk about synergies be careful. If you see write down of assets or write ups of liabilities, and management talks about being conservative, you should be careful. Management will try to do this to fudge earnings.
Tyco in its last year bought $20 billion of companies and put $21 billion of goodwill on their books. They basically said that the companies never made money.
FAS 157 and value of level III assets something to look at.
XOM is not in good shape. The company has gone from net cash to net debt. Oil is getting harder to find. You see it with petrobras and with Exxon making deals with the Russian Government.
Gamestop is cheap and will continue to be cheap, because as files become more complex and easy to download, brick and mortars will be hit hard.
For profit education is going to get cheaper. There is no business that is more predatory than the for-profit industry. I think it is a national shame and they are like used car-salesman. 90% of the loans are federal so we are paying for it.
ITT have an off balance sheet entity, look at their default rate [Michael Price is very bullish on ITT]. They do not have cover from the GOP house, especially as Gen. Petraeus has lead a campaign against the for profits.
Iron Ore demand is driven by China. The commodity looks cheap, until you look at 50 year inflation adjusted chart. The giant commodity entities think this boom will never end.
Vale is an interesting companies. It does business in Brazil, and if you look at Petrobras, it does not view such companies favorably.
Value is building a navy, but it doesnt even expect to earn a return on it.
I would be remiss if I did not talk more about China. The Chinese SWF is buying banks on the open market.
The Chinese banks are there to implement shareholder policy. The Chinese banks have been recapitalized twice in the past twelve years. Both times, 40% of loans became non performing. Dont think that China will bail out the shareholders. Last time the Chinese set up asset managers who issued debt to shareholders in place of their equity holdings. The debt was recently rolled over, and the debt is still on their books. For Agricultural Bank of China we think this represents half of their capital.
We can’t even get into how leveraged the Chinese banks are. The credit creation in China is unprecedented. Most of the debt is at the four large banks, not the shadow lenders.
The Government might stand behind a lot of the lenders but dont think they will back up the shareholders. The only Western lenders who ever got a penny out of China, had the Royal Navy behind them, which would make it not a value stock.
Indian demographics might support mining boom? China is not moving the lever much and India is self sufficient in most of these commodities. The head of the mining companies will admit that the Chinese is the 800 pound Gorilla.
I was in Dubai in 08 and was there for a ribbon cutting for a band new monument. I could sense the financial madness, and I see that happening in China over and over.
Real estate sales for the golden months in China were down 40-50%. The high speed rail accident I think was more significant than most people realize. Because the Chinese had a lot of pride about their first class transportation system.
Japan…thoughts? We only want to really piss off one Asian country at a time.
Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon died Sunday in a fiery 15-car wreck at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when his car flew over another on Lap 13 and smashed into the wall just outside turn 2.
Wheldon was 33. Drivers were told of Wheldon’s death in a meeting about two hours after the fiery, smoky crash that many drivers said was the worst they had ever seen.
He won the Indianapolis 500 twice, including this year.
“IndyCar is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries,” IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family today. IndyCar, its drivers and owners, have decided to end the race. In honor of Dan Wheldon, the drivers have decided to do a five-lap salute to in his honor.”
Three other drivers, including championship contender Will Power, were hurt in the pileup.
The wreck left Townsend Bell upside down and smoldering cars and debris littered the track nearly halfway up the straightaway of the 1.5-mile oval.
The track was red-flagged following the accidents while crews worked on fences and removed smashed cars.
Wheldon started in the back of the pack but quickly worked his way through the 34-car field before the wreck.
“It was like a movie scene which they try to make as gnarly as possible,” said Danica Patrick, making her final IndyCar start. “It was debris everywhere across the whole track, you could smell the smoke, you could see the billowing smoke on the back straight from the car. There was a chunk of fire that we were driving around. You could see cars scattered.”
Drivers had been concerned about the high speeds at the track, where they were hitting nearly 225 mph during practice.
Their concerns became reality when contact on Turn 2 sent cars flying through the air, crashing into each other and into the outside wall and catch fence.
“I’ll tell you, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Ryan Briscoe said. “The debris we all had to drive through the lap later, it looked like a war scene from Terminator or something. I mean, there were just pieces of metal and car on fire in the middle of the track with no car attached to it and just debris everywhere. So it was scary, and your first thoughts are hoping that no one is hurt because there’s just stuff everywhere. Crazy.”Comments »
The “Crossroads of the World” were jammed when thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters brought their party to Times Square, creating pandemonium as chanting masses collided with tourists and theatergoers and resulting in over 40 arrests.
Shouting, “This is what democracy looks like,” throngs of protesters energized by yesterday’s victory in the face of possible eviction from their Zuccotti Park shantytown formed inside metal police barricades.
Police, some in riot gear and mounted on horses, tried to push them out of the square and onto the sidewalks in an attempt to funnel the crowds away.
Sandy Peterson of Salt Lake City, who was in Times Square after seeing “The Book of Mormon” musical on Broadway, got caught up in the disorder.
“We’re getting out of here before this gets ugly,” she said.
Sandra Fox, 69, of Baton Rouge, La., stood, confused, on 46th Street with a ticket for “Anything Goes” in her hand as riot police pushed a knot of about 200 shouting protesters toward her.
“I think it’s horrible what they’re doing,” she said of the protesters. “These people need to go get jobs.”
Police arrested 42 protesters at Times Square, but cops appeared eager to avoid a confrontation.
One group of police officers massed on a side street that had been blocked by protesters entering Times Square — some on motorcycles and others on foot armed with batons and plastic handcuffs. But just as the officers began to force their way into the crowd, a group of senior officers arrived and appeared to tell the cops to fall back. The police retreated and allowed protesters on the sidewalks to fill another portion of the street.
Protesters chanted “police are the 99%” and “this is a nonviolent protest” during the near-confrontation.
Earlier, 24 protesters were arrested when a mob stormed a LaGuardia Place Citibank and shouted slogans as two demonstrators closed their bank accounts in protest just after 2 p.m.
“[The protesters] all went in a big flash mob to close their accounts,” said Adrielle Slaugh,a 24-year-old office manager who saw the clash. “There were about 30 of them. They were screaming and chanting while they were going in. Security told them to leave, but they didn’t. They stood in a group chanting things to the tellers. There were locked in, and then they were taken away.”
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/occupy_protesters_spruce_times_for_KzE86bX48IqS41Z8xlTfVK#ixzz1auWuwLtC
The Occupy Chicago protest moved its focus from LaSalle Street to an area in Grant Park.
A crowd of about 2,000 people gathered and marched from LaSalle Street and Jackson to a square northeast of Michigan Avenue and Congress Parkway, continuing the three-week old protest against corporate corruption, government spending and a myriad of other issues.
Bearing homemade signs, American flags and printed banners, the crowd settled in the plaza to listed to a variety of speakers while some participants erected tents and set up sleeping bags.
“Look at what we did!” shouted one speaker. “The corporations control the government and the wealth but we have the greatest power of all: the power of the people!”
“This is our Tahrir Square,” said another speaker, referencing the protests in Egypt as part of what has been called the Arab Spring. “We’re not going to take it anymore! We’re going to take these streets!”
Occupy groups nationwide declared Saturday as a Global Day of Action, with protesters in various countries rallying for similar causes.
Dwight Overton of the West Side said he started participating on the fourth day of the movement and got more involved as he participated in the general assemblies and learned more about the issues.
“I want to get everyone aware of corporate corruption and greed,” said Overton, 24, the din of honking horns and drum beats behind him. “I want to give the United States and the world back to its people, and not have corporations influence on the government.”
Erica Weitzel, 26, said she plans to sleep over in the square and has been encouraged by the group’s camaraderie and commitment to its pledge of non-violence.
“It’s beautiful and exciting down here to see people taking care of each other and being kind to each other,” said Weitzel of the Ukrainian Village. “I think that taking time out of your day to come down here and stand up for what you believe in is the most American thing you can do.”
As the demonstration continued, speaker after speaker implored the participants to camp out overnight and to stand firm in their beliefs.
“We hope that you are here in the dead of winter,” one speaker shouted. “The weather is not going to stop this movement!”
Police News Affairs did not immediately have comment on whether protesters would be allowed to remain in the park. Police on the scene, who included about a half-dozen mounted police and two dozen police cars, said about 9 p.m. that they had not yet been told whether the protesters should be allowed to remain in the park past its 11 p.m. closing time.Comments »