Man jailed for violating sign ordinance
By: CJ Cassidy
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - How far would you go to protect your business?
A Cape Girardeau man says he'd go to jail over it.
It's all part of his stand against a city ordinance stating temporary banner signs must be attached to the wall of the business or support structure of the building - rather than tied to existing signs.
City leaders say despite their efforts to work with Dennis McDonald, he continued to break the law and now has to face the consequences.
McDonald says he'd rather go to jail than take down his sign, and that's exactly what happened.
"That's the cheapest way out. It costs me a whole lot less this way," McDonald says as he's taken away in handcuffs. And while it doesn't look like he's putting up much of a fight, he says he is, as he waits for a new permanent sign to replace this temporary banner that's violating a city ordinance.
"The new sign I ordered is not going to be done until July 16th. I don't want to sit here and suffer until July 16th," he says.
McDonald says most people wouldn't notice the entrance to the store because it's on the side of the building.
He says he counts on the banner advertising mattresses to draw in customers. He also says taking down the sign even for a month would add up to a great loss in sales
"They are asking me to starve and the kids to starve," he says.
City leaders say they tried to work with Mcdonald but he didn't respond to nine summons.
"We alerted him to the option of putting in a permanent sign. We told him what kind of sign what size you can have. Supposedly he was going to do that last summer," says City planner Martha Brown.
McDonald snapped photographs of other businesses in town with similar signs.
Brown says many of them are illegal.
Owners we talked to say they had no idea.
In fact, the manager at an O'Reilly Auto Parts store immediately took down his sign after we spoke with him.
As for McDonald, some folks say this could be a case of this mattress guy making his bed and lying in it.
McDonald will spend the next five days in jail.