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'Threat' billboard moving

Brian Francisco

A tea party-sponsored billboard that says "The Navy SEALs removed one threat to America … the voters must remove the other" has apparently moved west on U.S. 30 in Whitley County.

David Ditton of Whitley County Patriots said Monday that the sign has been taken down from near the Allen County-Whitley County line and a Steel Dynamics Inc. plant "due to a demand from the property owner."

Ditton said the billboard was being placed along westbound U.S. 30, west of Larwill, on property owned by Perma Advertising Co., which had rented the original billboard from Fort Wayne-based Steel Dynamics.

The Journal Gazette was unable to reach a Steel Dynamics spokeswoman for comment.

The newspaper reported on the billboard in a Sunday story. Ditton was quoted as saying the "other" threat to America included President Obama, some of his appointments and many members of Congress who scored low on ratings by FreedomWorks, a Washington-based, limited-government advocacy group.

The first "threat" in the message was Osama bin Laden, the planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington and Pennsylvania. Navy SEALS killed bin Laden on May 1, 2011, at his compound in Pakistan.

Ditton said in an email Monday that Steel Dynamics officials "were consulted ahead of time that there would be a political message on the board, but they weren't advised what it would say."

Steel Dynamics asked that the billboard be removed before the story was published, Ditton said. Steel Dynamics did not return a call last week seeking comment.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney occasionally has mentioned Steel Dynamics as being among the companies that Bain Capital helped steer to success. Romney led the Boston-based venture capital firm in 1994, when it invested more than $18 million in the startup steel company.

Steel Dynamics today employs about 6,300 people.

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