A right-wing newspaper’s attempt to smear the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011 was regurgitated into a belligerent conspiracy theory circulated, seemingly in perpetuity, via email.

In an October 20 2011 editorial, the Washington Examiner claimed:

A question asked by many since the demonstrators occupied New York’s Zuccotti Park is why Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken such a hands-off approach. The official explanation is that Bloomberg’s hands are tied by the fact that the park is privately owned. There may be more to the story, however: Zuccotti Park is owned by Brookfield [Office] Properties, one of the directors of which happens to be Bloomberg’s girlfriend, according to the Atlantic Wire.

Then there is this: Brookfield [Office] Properties is a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Managers, which has another subsidiary, the Brookfield Renewable Power Co. The latter owns Granite Wind Power Co. in New Hampshire. Granite recently received a $167 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy under President Obama’s economic stimulus program. Among BAM’s stockholders is one George Soros. Small world, isn’t it!

The idea that there was a “hands-off” policy toward Occupy protesters is questionable; the contingent that set up camp inside the park for a long-term protest against the rapidly worsening crisis of economic inequality would be cleared out under Bloomberg’s administration within a month after the Examiner board’s post. The editorial was also published 19 days after more than 700 demonstrators were arrested while marching over the Brooklyn Bridge.

At the time, Bloomberg was dating Diana L. Taylor, who was indeed part of the Brookfield group’s board of directors. (As of September 2023 she was listed in a similar position for Citibank.) Whether that meant that Bloomberg’s “hands were tied” at the time, however, remains speculation.

The claims made regarding Brookfield Office Properties’ ownership and subsidiaries are, in fact, accurate but not as clandestine as the newspaper made them sound; the Department of Energy, for instance, publicly announced that the Granite Reliable wind farm, which was owned by a Brookfield subsidiary, had received “a $169 partial million loan guarantee” in September 2011.

The inclusion of Soros in the editorial seems to serve no other purpose than to further the Examiner’s attempt to paint the OWS movement as a “Who’s Who of the Radical American Left.”

Within a year of the editorial being published, the majority of its claimes were recycled as part of a chain email with more inflammatory language — which included an early iteration of what would become a familiar right-wing obsession involving Joe Biden, who at the time was U.S. Vice President:

You can’t make this stuff up.
Read the NY Times Oct 13, 2011
to verify ownership etc.
I didn’t really understand all this Occupy Wall Street protesting but
it is getting clearer now…
Do you know the park in NYC that the Wall Street protesters are occupying?
It’s Zuccotti Park.
Did you know this park is not owned by the city of New York?
It is owned by Brookfield Properties.
Brookfield Asset Management received an Obama Department of Energy Loan guarantee of over $160 million within 10 days of approving the take over of the Park.
Brookfield is a Canadian company with assets of 70 billion. Google it!
It is all on their website-
And Why is the US Taxpayer guaranteeing a loan to a VERY wealthy Canadian company?!?!
Who was just hired by Brookfield Properties as an attorney?
Vice President Joe Biden’s son.
And Who sits on the board of Brookfield Properties?
Mayor Bloomberg’s live in girlfriend.
Now, guess what company just received some of the last of the Obama Stimulus $$$$$$$?
Thaaaaaaaaaaaat’s right… Brookfield Properties.
Isn’t life great in America!

In a preview of the disinformation targeting the Bidens in the future, neither of U.S. President Joe Biden’s sons had ever been hired by Brookfield Properties.

Beau Biden, who died in 2015, was in the midst of his two terms as Delaware’s Attorney General. Beau’s brother Hunter Biden also never worked for any Brookfield-related property; two years before the Examiner’s editorial was even published, he had been one of the founders of a separate investment company, Rosemont Seneca. Since his father was elected president in 2020, Hunter Biden has become a prominent boogeyman for right-wing lawmakers and media outlets, despite a lack of any evidence of wrongdoing or “corruption” on his part.

The chain email version of the Examiner’s claims went even further in trying to implicate Soros, who has been targeted with disinformation — often of the thinly-veiled antisemitic variety — longer than all three Bidens:

Now, guess what?
On a completely unrelated note, Wisconsin is shaping up to be the swing state in the 2012 presidential elections. Not Florida. Not Ohio. But Wisconsin.
Now, guess who owns the company that will be tabulating the electronic votes in Wisconsin ?
Thaaaaaaaaaaaat’s right, the biggest contributor to Obama, the puppeteer George Soros. Whaaaaaaaaaaaat a coincidence
Remember what Joe Stalin said. It’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes.”

Soros, in fact, did not own any company of that type in Wisconsin. As we have often pointed out, Soros has also not colluded with any company that operates electronic voting machines, nor has he ever been hired by any social media platform to “moderate” elections.

Update 9/23/2023, 1:30 a.m.: This article has been revamped and updated. You can review the original here. — ag