Romney-bashing poster removed by Tampa code enforcement

09/05/12 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

The owner of a restaurant just outside Tampa’s Republican convention event zone is wondering why government workers tore artwork off of his building one day before the convention was set to begin. Café Hey owner Cheong Choi said one of the posters showcased a smiling Mitt Romney behind the words “I like firing people”.

“We’ve had posters on the front here and it’s never really been an issue. We’ve had banners and we have all kinds of other things that we haven’t been bothered about up until that point.”

Tampa code enforcement workers threatened Choi with a $90 per day per poster fine if he didn’t take them down. According to the Huffington Post, a spokesperson for the city said she didn’t know the restaurant owner was the one who hung the posters. Choi said he asked code enforcement what was illegal about hanging the posters, but was given a vague answer at best.

“They would say 20.5. 20.5 is the entire chapter of sign ordinances. It’s a forty-page document which I had gone through and kind of looked through and said, ‘hey, I think we’re ok.’ I’ve looked at the different things and they’re at least two or three parts of this chapter that allow for us to have these posters up on the wall. And so they said, ‘it’s 20.5.’ And we said, ‘could you get more specific than that?’ And of course this is in the backdrop of them starting to look at it and not really wanting to talk to us and being very dodgy.”

The artwork was part of a pre-RNC politically charged poster show the week before the convention. Choi said he held events like that to draw business from people other than delegates – like protesters.

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It is unclear from the article whether "government workers tore artwork off of his building". If they were already torn off, why the threat of fines? Or did the threat of fines come first?