• Giant Apple Billboard Comes Down After Election

    Six months after the owner of a large self-storage facility near a busy interstate interchange in Boston paid a $110,000 settlement to keep an illegal 13,750-square-foot billboard on his building, the sign has mysteriously disappeared. The property owner, the city, and Apple have all refused comment on the matter.

    Two years ago, the owner of Planet Storage put a massive banner - mounted on scaffolding obscuring a mural of whales - on the side of his building, which is clearly visible from Interstate 93 as it enters Boston's downtown. The commonwealth of Massachusetts objected, saying the sign was illegal because it did not advertise products sold in the store. The owner said it should be allowed since he sold iTunes cards in the facility, and the businessman who put the sign up (who has also donated up to the legal limit to five-term Boston Mayor Thomas Menino every year since 2005) obtained a one-year temporary permit for the sign, but did not renew it in 2008.

    The issue became a controversy in October after it was revealed one of the Mayor's campaign aides had made a call to the city office that needed to okay the permit. In an interview with the Boston Herald, David A. Passafaro, longtime friend of Mayor Menino, acknowledged that his inquiry might have been considered an official approval of the sign.

    “Yeah, I suppose,’’ Passafaro said. “I could see that someone might think that I was asking for something, and I was not.’’
    Last week, Tom Menino won an unprecedented fifth consecutive four-year term, and the sign came down. There is no indication whether the two events are connected: spokespeople for the city's Inspectional Services Department and the Boston Redevelopment Authority were contacted by the Boston Herald and said they had no explanation for its removal. The building owner, the businessman who put together the sign deal and Apple, Inc. all could not be reached for comment.

    image via Boston Herald
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