Fact Check: No evidence taxpayers paid for anti-Trump billboard

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

It was a scandalous headline: "Phoenix Trump Nazi Billboard Funded With Taxpayer Dollars."

But there's one huge problem: It's not true.

[RELATED: Billboard depicting Trump with mushroom clouds and swastika-like dollar signs pops up in Phoenix]

The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch made the claims this week.

As evidence, the organization cited paperwork from the City of Phoenix, a $3,500 grant awarded in July to Grand Avenue Arts & Preservation.

The local art group has ties to the owner of the anti-Trump billboard, Beatrice Moore.

[RELATED: Controversial Trump billboard in Phoenix vandalized]

But Moore says the money was used to pay for an art festival in November, several months before the billboard was installed.

3TV and CBS5 took a close look at the documents and could not find any evidence that grant money was used on the sign.

[RELATED: Death threats do not deter artist behind controversial Trump billboard]

Mark Spencer, a spokesman for Judicial Watch and a former Phoenix police officer, also said they did have strong evidence.

"If you want to look at it from a police perspective, reasonable suspicion is never enough to arrest someone, you need probable cause. Would I say there's probable cause? No. Would I say there's reasonable suspicion? Certainly," Spencer said Friday.  

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

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