Even in Boca Raton, Hedgies Can’t Escape ‘Occupy Wall Street’

By Steve Eder | January 23, 2012 | Wall Street Journal 

You can leave New York, but don’t be surprised if the “Occupy Wall Street” mentality follows you.

Wall Street types, arriving at the luxurious Boca Raton Resort & Club, on Sunday for the four-day hedge fund event, GAIM USA, were greeted by a crowd of about two dozen protesters from the nearby “Occupy Palm Beach” movement, conference organizers said.

The protesters weren’t there on Monday, but there was still a police presence outside the resort, where rooms often cost over $300 a night.

Inside the conference, some attendees and speakers chuckled at the notion of the protesters coming to a hedge fund conference.

One attendee made the point that hedge funds really weren’t the culprits in the financial crisis — that designation is typically reserved for banks. But then again, hedge fund managers do make up a fair share of the so-called “1%”

Boca police said they weren’t expecting a big demonstration as local ordinances make it tough to congregate. Still, a fountain outside the resort and a grassy area surrounded by palm trees were sectioned off with red netting, with “POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS” markers.

A conference organizer welcomed the protesters.

“It clear they recognize the importance of GAIM,” said Daniel Strachman, of the Institute for International Research, which helped organized the conference. “It’s great that they are able to protest.”

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