Against all odds, an American builder is seeking buyers — or investors — for his privately constructed $30 million fence along the Rio Grande which he considers part of former President Donald Trump’s southern border wall, reports Bloomberg.
Tommy Fisher, head of Fisher Sand and Gravel Co., is widely known as the builder with little similar experience who nabbed $2.5 billion in contracts from the Trump administration to build 135 miles of wall sections near Yuma and Nogales in Arizona, and El Paso and Laredo in Texas.
The largest-ever border wall contracts were awarded to Fisher’s company — after he was initially passed over — once he went on Fox News repeatedly to appeal directly to Trump and his cronies. (An earlier Fisher $400 million contract was held up by an audit launched after accusations of improper White House influence.)
Those projects are seriously on hold now that the Biden administration has deemed the wall boondoggle “unnecessary.”
But Fisher already constructed two sections of the wall — more accurately, very tall fences of long lines of steel bollards — using private funds on private land.
He erected the first half-mile section in the hills of New Mexico in 2019 — paid for with $6.9 million in donations from Trump supporters to We Build The Wall. The organization was founded by pro-Trump Iraq war vet Brian Kolfage and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who were later charged with two others of fraud for allegedly bilking donors out of $25 million. Bannon was given a preemptive pardon by Trump on the charges early this year just before he left office.
Fisher’s three-mile “wall” up for grabs to buyers now is along the Rio Grande near McAllen, Texas. It was supposed to also be paid for by WBTW. But Fisher told Bloomberg he received only $1.5 million from the organization for the project that he claims cost him a total of $30 million. Now he’s looking to unload it.
Fisher told Bloomberg he thought building part of Trump’s promised nearly 2,000-mile border wall would be “fun.” Trump’s project, he imagined, “would be remembered like the Hoover Dam.”
So far it doesn’t look like a project for the history books. Fisher has been sued by the National Butterfly Center next to the Rio Grande, whose officials charge his wall could divert water and debris onto its land in a flood with dire consequences for butterflies.
He was also sued by the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission, which claims his barrier could divert water and end up displacing the U.S.-Mexico border.
And once Joe Biden moved into the White House, the odds that America would “buy an unsanctioned border wall associated with an allegedly criminal enterprise helmed by Steve Bannon dropped significantly,” Bloomberg noted.
Fisher told Bloomberg that it might be best if any interested buyers, including potentially the federal government — or investors — take a fresh look at his wall.
“I just think they gotta take the stigma out of the wall as a, I mean, you know what I’m saying, racist kind of thing?” he told Bloomberg. “It’s a border, it’s a barrier, that’s all it means.”
They could also envision it as, say, a very long “bike path” next to an extremely high fence, he suggested.
Fisher dreams of not just selling off his existing section of wall — he’d love to expand it, charging investors $20 million per each additional mile, according to Bloomberg. Pointing at his wall, he asked Bloomberg: “Can you imagine if this was 50 to 100 miles, and this was a bike path you could use?”
Check out the full Bloomberg article here.