Chicago officials rankled by IBM's 'peace' ads

Wednesday, April 25th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) _ Big Blue has been caught red-handed.

City officials are considering fining IBM for painting peace symbols, hearts and penguins on sidewalks as part of a promotion for the company's Linux computer operating system.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM said the black designs, painted at about 100 spots, were supposed to be done in biodegradable chalk.

Company spokeswoman Trink Guarino said Tuesday that IBM had discontinued that part of the 'Peace, Love and Linux' campaign.

The fines run $50 per location. Officials also said they may try to charge IBM for the cleanup _ about $134 an hour for equipment, labor and supplies. Each patch will take up to an hour to remove, said Debbie DeLopez, who runs the city's graffiti removal program.

The city learned about the campaign after police arrested Ali Morsy, 20, on suspicion of painting some of the symbols. He faces property damage and vandalism charges.

San Francisco ordered IBM to remove similar graffiti last week, an official said.