by The Associated Press title ‘Weird’: How a famous artist used her fame to make $7 million per year article By KEVIN R. CABALLERO, Associated PressWendy’s and Taco Bell franchises are known for their food and drinks, and their popularity.
But a new franchise owner says she’s willing to pay $7.25 million to have the food chain take a stand against President Donald Trump.
Travis C. Johnson, a New Jersey businessman who owns Austin Cosmetic Dentistry, said he was willing to fork over $7,500 to buy out the Austin franchise of the Texas-based fast-food chain.
“We are not a political group,” Johnson said.
He said he hopes his donation would be matched by other businesses that want to make a statement.
Texas is among the states that have banned the Confederate battle flag, a symbol of the Confederacy, and has seen a surge in hate crimes in recent weeks.
Johnson’s donation is a significant one in a nationwide campaign by businesses to show their support for the Confederate flag.
The Texas-born Johnson is a Republican who has donated to other Republican candidates and has donated money to Republican political campaigns, according to Federal Election Commission records.
In a statement, Johnson said he did not have a political affiliation but “would not hesitate to make an endorsement for anyone who has any real concerns about the Confederate emblem.”
Taco Bell has donated $1.2 million to Texas political campaigns and organizations, the most by any fast-casual chain, according a company spokesman.
Johnson, an Army veteran, said the idea for the donation came to him when he was in a car accident last week in which he sustained injuries to his legs.
He said he had trouble breathing and didn’t know how to use his wheelchair.
A few days later, he was hospitalized, and he said he couldn’t sleep because of pain.
While in a medically induced coma, he said, he learned he was a Confederate supporter.
“I didn’t even know it, but I was just a fan,” he said.
“It was really, really hurtful.”
Austin Cosmetic Dentists said in a statement that it has been working with other businesses and politicians to show support for Confederate symbols and has a “long history of standing up to racism.”
“We’re proud of our history and proud of what we do,” said the statement.
“The more we speak out, the more we get respect.”
Johnson said he has donated at least $100,000 to other businesses to send a message about racism, and his donation is the second of its kind.
Cheryl Cisneros, the founder of the Dallas-based chain, said she has a long history of giving to causes including Black Lives Matter and other social causes.
Cisneros said she’s not a member of either the Confederate or pro-Confederate organizations, but she has always had a strong interest in the issue.
“What you see in Austin is a strong, positive voice,” she said.