Naked Tempe statue causes controversy

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The Tempe man behind a controversial statue of a naked obese woman is hoping his latest addition will calm the uproar. By Mike Gertzman The Tempe man behind a controversial statue of a naked obese woman is hoping his latest addition will calm the uproar. By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Tempe man behind a controversial statue of a naked woman is hoping his latest addition will calm the uproar.

Bill Tonnesen created the statue on the wall at one of his properties near Rural and Broadway roads.

The work of art rubbed some people the wrong way, because the statue is across the street from a preschool and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church.

"It's just a coincidence," said Bill Tonnesen.

He added that he received permission from the city to display the statue of the obese woman.

"It's hard enough just to get your ducks lined up just to own something, " said Tonnesen. "I was successful and I can put the statue up in the nude. Then somebody else said 'Oh no you're not.'"

One of those people include Tonnesen's wife, who didn't want to go on camera. In order to please critics, Tonnesen put one-dollar bills on the appropriate places.

"It was okay if I put a bikini on her so I made a bikini out of dollar bills," said Tonnesen. "But it just looked Disney-like. So we came up with a fig-leaf idea."

Either way Tonnesen said his tenants enjoy the statue.