Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reagan bust artist busted for dumping statue acid on public land

antiqued with acid
     As Tere’s Board Meeting Highlights make clear, at last night’s board meeting,
     Chancellor Poertner highlighted a special donation from Trustee Tom Fuentes, a bust of Ronald Reagan on a marble pedestal, gifted to the South Orange County Community District for the Ronald Reagan Board of Trustees Room. Chancellor Poertner shared the story behind the artwork created by the late Orange County artist Woodrow Butterfield and the special significance to Trustee Fuentes who was instrumental in the naming of the board room in 2008 after the former President. The board looks forward to sharing the artwork with the community as soon as it can be properly secured in a display case.
     A friend of this blog emailed a link to an old (1991) Times story about the late Woodrow Butterfield. The upshot? Butterfield, who owned a statue place, dumped lots of acid on adjacent public land. He repeatedly blew off demands that he clean it up. Ultimately, he paid a $17,000 fine and was placed on probation:

Statue Maker Fined for Leaking Acid
     In West Orange County Municipal Court this week, [Woodrow] Butterfield and his two sons … pleaded no contest to charges that they dumped muriatic acid from Statueland, at 13960 Harbor Blvd., onto adjacent public land. The trio was charged in August with two misdemeanor counts of improperly disposing of hazardous waste, crimes that carry penalties of up to $100,000 and a year in jail, according to Deputy Dist. Atty. Gerald G. Johnston.
. . .
     Municipal Judge Daniel J. Didier fined shop owner Woodrow Butterfield $7,000 and assessed additional penalties of $10,000. The judge suspended $5,000 fines for both sons, but placed all three men on three years' probation.
. . .
     The Butterfields used the acid to clean the statues and make them appear to be antiques, Johnston said. They then hosed the residual acid and cement onto public property where it created a standing pool 35 feet long by 10 feet across, he said. A sample of the liquid was so acidic it could burn flesh, Johnston said.
     It’s a little thing, I suppose. What’s a little acid on public property? I mean, why shouldn't the public deal with a private company's messy acid?
     Butterfield had been on the Garden Grove City Council. He died in 2003.
     If I were Gary, I'd check that Reagan bust for, um, acid.

"You know, a tree is a tree, how many more do you need to look at?" —Ronald Reagan

2 comments:

  1. That is just too perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Muriatic acid is nasty stuff. Why not just let the statues age naturally?! (And why clean them? If they're in public, they're going to get a bit dirty.) And that Miss Piggy as Lady Liberty statue is just hideous.

    ReplyDelete

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