Trump Nazi billboard in downtown Phoenix funded by taxpayers


Records obtained by Judicial Watch found a controversial billboard showing President Donald Trump as a Nazi, was bought with taxpayer dollars, and commissioned by an “arts advocate” paid by a U.S. city to “diminish barriers.” The massive billboard has caused a ruckus when it was unveiled in downtown Phoenix, Arizona back in March, because it features a portrait of Trump with a menacing grin, then has him surrounded by mushroom clouds, and dollar signs are modified into swastikas. A final jab at the President: a Russian flag pin is put on the president’s lapel.

The billboard towers over Grand Avenue and Taylor Street in downtown Phoenix, and according to the local art gallery that claims to own it, will remain there throughout Trump’s presidency. A multitude of local and national media outlets covered the controversy surrounding the artist that created it, but all have failed to uncover the important fact that taxpayer dollars are behind it.

The media has reported the Trump-Nazi billboard was commissioned by the billboard owner, Beatrice Moore, a longtime patron of the arts on Grand Avenue. Moore’s deep ties to the city and the cash she receives for her various public art endeavors have stayed secret. The local Phoenix news reports have also focused on the death threats that the artist, Karen Fiorito, has gotten since it went up. A local paper says that the billboard went up during an annual art event and that the artist aimed to stir up controversy.

Soon after the billboard was put up, Judicial Watch filed a public records request with the city of Phoenix to get details related to public monies connected to organizations and organizers of the sign. Judicial Watch received this week the documents that show the city of Phoenix has awarded Moore, the Trump-Nazi billboard owner, thousands of dollars in grants for a program she runs called Grand Avenue Arts & Preservation (GAP), which encompasses the Art Detour event where the Nazi billboard made its debut.

The publicly funded annual art celebration is touted as having “a diverse slate of activities created by local artists and art venues to celebrate the growing, vibrant Phoenix arts scene” and is described by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton as, “one of the most important events in Phoenix’s calendar.” Artlink is the group that puts on the event, which was founded by Moore, in partnership with the city of Phoenix. Former Phoenix Deputy City Manager Rick Naimark, who retired in 2015 with a hefty pension, sits on Arlink’s board.

Moore and her many publicly-funded art enterprises received $3,500 from the city of Phoenix in July 2016, the records obtained by Judicial Watch show, which encompasses the March 2017 Art Detour event that kicked off with the Trump Nazi billboard. The objectionable Trump billboard, which involves taxpayer money, doesn’t appear to promote that “growing, vibrant” art scene in the City of Phoenix Moore wants. Rather, it seems to fall short of Moore’s stated goal of “diminishing barriers” through art.

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