October 16, 2021

Message marred

Sign thanking President Trump vandalized in C’ville

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

John Morton looks at his vandalized sign Monday outside his machinery shed on Tower Road in Cortlandville. Morton said he’s not going to take the sign down after it was recently defaced.

Following Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden, John Morton wanted to thank Trump for the tax cut act that saved Morton thousands of dollars.

Morton, the owner of the Gable Inn in Cortland, put the words “Thank You” over his Trump and Mike Pence re-election sign outside the inn and a banner on a machinery shed Morton owns on Tower Road in Cortlandville.

Six months after Trump left office, Morton discovered July 3 his shed had been vandalized, the banner covered with a dried, brown liquid.

“To have someone destroy something that doesn’t belong to them doesn’t lead to a good society,” Morton said Monday.

Following the discovery, Morton filed a report with the Cortland County Sheriff’s Office.

Lt. Garry Williams, the road patrol lieutenant, and Lt. Chad Burhans, head of investigations division, both said they didn’t have details or knowledge of a report filed by Morton.

Williams said that vandalism or defacing of political signs is not very common. Rather, people tend to steal or remove signs.

The penalty for defacing a banner, like in Morton’s case, would depend on its cost, Williams said.

The defacing of a sign would fall under criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, he said. If the sign cost more than $250, it would be categorized as a felony.

Morton said that the banner, with alterations, cost more than $250.

Morton said he put up the words “Thank You” on the sign, particularly appreciating Trump’s targeting of immigration and the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, which, Morton said, helped him save $3,200 for the Gable Inn.

“I felt gratitude,” he said on why he put up the sign. “Evidently, there are people of ingratitude in the world who are willing to deface private property.”

One of Morton’s neighbor’s, George Clancy, was also dismayed at the vandalism.

“If you don’t like a flag or sign somebody has, don’t look at it,” he said.

Morton said he’s not going to take the defaced sign down. Instead, he’s purchased spotlights he plans to install to make sure the sign is visible all the time.

Additionally, he doesn’t care if the sheriff’s office catches the culprit. Morton just wants to be able to show his appreciation for Trump.

“It’s just sad you can’t express the gratitude for someone without someone else suffering the wrath of suffering of someone else’s ingratitude,” he said.