Fort Lauderdale cigar store owner told to move famed Native American statue
Pat Patel says he feels he's being targeted by city officials
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Fort Lauderdale cigar shop owner Pat Patel is angry after getting a letter from code enforcement over the weekend.
He said the city of Fort Lauderdale wants his iconic Native American statue removed from the sidewalk.
For more than 20 years, the statue, affectionately named Sosa, has stood outside Patel's cigar shop off Las Olas Boulevard.
He said the statue draws many customers and is regularly tweeted and photographed by tourists who visit from around the world.
Sosa, however is now at the center of a legal battle. Patel said he received a letter from code enforcement officers who want the statue removed from the sidewalk.
"I don't know what the problem is," said Patel. " I don't bother nobody."
City officials told Local 10 News it has received complaints on and off about the statue blocking part of the sidewalk. Officials said merchandise or objects that obstruct the sidewalks are not allowed and must be removed.
Officials said they have repeatedly asked Patel to move the statue closer to his store, outside his window.
Patel, however, said he has had the statue in the same location for years and pointed out other stores who were obstructing parts of the sidewalk.
A hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 20.
Patel believes he is being targeted and says he will fight the violation notice.
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