Walla Walla Toy Store Mural Racks Up Thousands in Fines - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Walla Walla Toy Store Mural Racks Up Thousands in Fines

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WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- After two and a half years of legal battles, the giant octopus above a Walla Walla toy store disappeared under a coat of fresh paint Thursday morning.

When Inland Octopus Toy Store Owner Bob Catsiff commissioned the giant purple octopus mural over Labor Day weekend back in 2010, he did it without proper permitting from the city.

At that point, the city informed Catsiff the ordinance called for a $100 a day fine for violating the sign code.

But Catsiff wouldn't give up so easily.

He took the case to court, saying the city violated his rights to free speech, but a judge ruled in the city's favor. Catsiff appealed that verdict, but judges at the appeals court level also ruled in the city's favor.

He tried to take the case to the Washington State Supreme Court and US Supreme Court, but they refused to review it.

So now, Catsiff owes the city $88,500.

"He has the right to appeal the fine to the court but code is very clear. It's $100 a day for each day in violation. It doesn't say the city manager can choose to settle for 50% or 25%," said Walla Walla City Manager Nabeil Shawa.

Adding insult to injury, the cost of Thursday morning's paint job, another $1,600 will be added to Catsiff's massive bill.

No word yet on whether Catsiff will appeal the fines or if he's planning to commission a new mural, within the city's sign code, of course.

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