The Department of Public Safety has asked Liberty Tax Service to remove employees dressed as the statue from the streets immediately.
According to a statement released Friday morning by North Augusta authorities, police and others had received complaints of the live advertisements as a “distracting traffic hazard.”
After investigating the situation, officers said they determined the activity violated a city ordinance that states it is “unlawful for any person to appear on the street, sidewalk or other public ways of the city conspicuously attired with a sign of advertisement.”
Public Safety Lt. Tim Thornton said, “They have been informed of the law. If they choose to ignore our warnings and the advertising campaign continues, they will be in violation of the law and we will take the appropriate criminal action against them.”
The owner of the Liberty Tax franchise said, however, that the city ordinance is being inappropriately applied to his business.
Cuylor Leverett is the owner of the franchise office on West Martintown Road, which opened in January. Since opening, he said, he has used roadside “wavers” and marketers to advertise his business.
Of the office’s 16 employees, 12 are roadside wavers and marketers. They have been stationed from 7 a.m. to about 9 p.m. on the sidewalks in front of the plaza where the office sits and at the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Martintown Road.
He said it wasn’t until Wednesday afternoon that he was notified there was a problem.
Leverett said an officer from North Augusta Public Safety came to his office and told him he was in violation of city ordinance code.
The ordinance states: “It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit business in the city by calling out through megaphones or otherwise, to persons passing or standing on the street, or to solicit or attract trade by methods commonly known as ‘ballyhooing’ or ‘pulling in’ or by the use of any mechanical appliance creating noise.”
The officer brought the ordinance to him to inform him of what it said, he said.
“That was the first time I had heard anything of an ordinance,” Leverett said..