It didn’t take long for “Mexico will pay for the wall” to become “we will personally pay for the wall.” While Trump was diverting money from the military to fund his border wall, some Trump supporters took it upon themselves to pay for the wall out of pocket. One man, Tommy Fisher, went farther than anyone else by spending $30 million to construct three miles of border wall in Texas. Now he’s trying to sell it.
Fisher, an outspoken Trump supporter, is the head of Fisher Sand and Gravel Co. His company began building the wall in early 2019 with money from We Build the Wall, a crowdsourcing project that later resulted in former Trump strategist Steve Bannon getting indicted for wire-fraud and money-laundering. Fisher initially received $6.5 million from We Build the Wall and later $1.5 million for a second portion of the border wall but he eventually parted ways with the organization. Meanwhile, the cost of building his private wall ballooned to more than 20 times the original estimate.
Fisher did not expect crowdfunding to pay for the entire project and had been angling for government contracts for years. Although federal officials were concerned about the company’s lack of experience and missed deadlines on previous government projects, Fisher appealed to Trump directly via Fox News. He eventually landed a $2 billion contract from the Department of Homeland Security.
However, Joe Biden’s presidency has ended any hope of the project receiving federal funding any time soon, leaving Fisher with a three-mile section of border wall that cost him $30 million. Fisher is now looking for buyers, even pitching that the wall could be used as a bike path. While other businessmen would seek to cut their losses at this point, Fisher hopes that he could even expand his border wall (or bike path). Ideally he would like to find not just buyers but investors as well. These investors would have to pay $20 million for each additional mile.
Fisher’s wall, which consists of 15,000 posts along the banks of the Rio Grande River, would be a tough sell to investors even if the Biden administration hadn’t frozen funding for barrier construction along the border. Experts have criticized the wall for being poorly built and say that Fisher’s company did not get proper approval from the EPA or the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) before they started construction. Furthermore, Fisher faces lawsuits from both the IWBC and the National Butterfly Center, who say that his wall could divert the Rio Grande and cause flooding.
“I have a border wall to sell you” may sound like a joke but in this case it is a very serious proposition. Time will tell if Fisher can recoup any of his losses.
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