The motions to excommunicate Sherell and Carnes from the Occupy Boston financial working group began just days after they'd signed on. Other members of FAWG were having trouble contacting them, and the pair ditched a meeting in which they were supposed to hand over the DBA and credit-union account info with which they could access donations. After several failed attempts to reach Carnes, FAWG operatives finally called Sherell, who they say answered but was taking cues from someone in the background. Instead of meeting with the group, Sherell said she and Carnes were going shopping for tents — even though no such spree had been approved by the assembly.
Receipts show that Carnes did in fact spend more than $400 in cash at an army supply store on Mass Ave that evening. There he purchased boots, flags, coats, and other items, only some of which were ever accounted for by FAWG, which, upon realizing Carnes's unreliability, removed about $2000 in cash donations from Carnes and Sherell's tent. Their concerns were piqued when they discovered that Carnes had been attempting to gain control over a number of working groups, and falsely told organizers that he had permission to obtain passwords to their Web sites, e-mail accounts, and social networks.
Especially troubling was word that Carnes had attempted to run a similar scam in Cleveland two weeks earlier. According to Rebecka Hawkins, a legal observer with the Ohio outfit, Carnes showed up on the third day of Occupy Cleveland claiming to have been dispatched from Boston and the National Lawyers Guild to help campers get organized (neither is true). Hawkins says Carnes tried rallying troops into imprudent and premature acts of civil disobedience, and furthermore refused to bring decisions to the whole group — all of which prompted an investigation. "He kept saying, 'Boston's going to look unfavorably at you,' and that made us really suspicious," says Hawkins. "We thought he was a plant for some government organization. But when we looked him up online, it turns out he has a history of being a nut job."
FAWG announced on October 24 that Carnes and Sherell were banned from handling camp monies. "They forced our hand," group member Greg Murphy told the GA. "It was unanimous — they've lost the trust of all of us." Coming to his own defense, Carnes announced that he'd planned — on his own initiative — an Occupy anniversary party for that weekend at the Boston Teacher's Union hall in Dorchester. (He had, in fact, rented a room at the BTU, but received permission from neither the union nor Occupy Boston to organize a joint celebration. BTU President Richard Stutman says Carnes did try to make inroads, though, claiming to have once worked for the Alabama Department of Education.) Outraged, some occupiers screamed at the accused embezzler, especially when he confessed to having not attended a single GA since arriving more than three weeks earlier. To make matters worse, after two minutes Carnes stormed off to the information tent, where he demanded dinner (which he was given) and requested individual meetings with each of his accusers.