Get ready, Palm Beach County, for your new corruption-exposing … blimp!
Like a 21st century pillory, the 94-foot blimp will carry 40-foot-tall messages trying to shame some elected officials.
And the flying object is being trucked to the area this week from Tuscon, Ariz., after it was bought by political critic Marty O’Boyle.
The Gulfstream millionaire was known for flying banners behind airplanes that called Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw a crook and former State Attorney Michael McAuliffe a putz.
O’Boyle accused them of cronyism and running inefficient agencies that cost the taxpayers too much money.
Now, O’Boyle is graduating to something much bigger to spread his anti-corruption crusade.
He paid $200,000 for the hot-air balloon, pending a Federal Aviation Administration inspection.
Hovering over homes
And while it was originally used for research over the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, the airship could soon be hovering over Bradshaw’s house at West Palm Beach’s fancy Ibis Golf & Country Club!
Or the neighborhood of any other elected official!
“A plane goes 50 to 70 mph, 1,000 feet in the air,” O’Boyle said. “The letters on the banners are about 4 feet tall.
“This blimp has a Velcro system where you can make up any message you want in 40-foot letters, and it travels about 15 mph.
“I can hover outside Bradshaw’s kitchen window for four hours with the word ‘Crook’ on it before I need to land somewhere,” O’Boyle said.
The engine is a two-stroke lawn-mower number, and the pilot sits in a shopping cart-like gondola.
Doesn’t sound too safe!
“My son’s a pilot and I’ll fly it if I have to,” said O’Boyle. “The moment I’ll see a politician stray from his duties, we’ll be flying. The way I see it, Mr. State Attorney works for me. And Mr. State Senator works for me. I owe it to my county to do this.”
Palm Beach County became known as Corruption County over the past few years after four county commissioners and two West Palm Beach commissioners were arrested for misusing their authority.