Towering high up in the sky, emblazoned with gigantic red block letters is a brand new sign greeting visitors and residents as they approach the intersection of Tamiami and John Ringling Boulevard. It reads: "Defeat Obama in 2012."
Installed on private property at 50 N. Tamiami Trail new building owner Michael Fox of Fox 41 LLC has clearly expressed his right to free speech in one of the most visible areas in Sarasota .
The building is marked with an Ian Black Realty sale/lease sign and Black was unavailable for comment but his agent, Scott Horn, said that Ian Black Realty, “has nothing to do with the sign."
A representative for Fox 41 LLC, Bob Willis, called and said that the sign was installed by Fox LLC and seven news organizations, including the Wall Street Journal, had contacted him today. Fox is out of the country and not available for comment. However, Fox gave Willis permission to speak on his behalf, according to Willis.
He said Fox had the sign hung because "he believes that President Barack Obama and the current administration is subverting the Constitution."
A local investor and clothing store owner, Fox purchased the property at 50 N. Tamiami Trail, formerly known as the “concession building”, earlier this year.
Willis stressed several times that the sign is intended to be an anti-Obama statement and not an endorsement of any person running for office or any political party.
Willis said that this is the first of 10,000 signs Fox hopes will be erected throughout the country before Independence Day, in people’s front yards and businesses, on their private property.
He said Fox believes it is important for people to exercise their right to free speech and has established a fund to offset costs.
Sarasota Democratic Party Chairwoman Rita Ferrandino issued a statement via e-mail saying: "Wealthy Sarasota investor Michael Fox spent a $1 million in January for a downtown property and then hangs Defeat Obama sign. No wonder why the 99% are so upset and support Obama."