The former owner of the Barnstormer complex in Green Oak Township — the venue that brought entertainment innovations like bear wresting and bungee jumping to the intersection of M-36 and U.S. 23 — made international news for disrupting the March 15, 2019, vigil in Cleveland for the victims of the mosque massacre in New Zealand.
Rob Cortis, the creator of the Trump Bridge, a modified trailer he pulls around the country, made a noisy appearance at a vigil to remember the victims of the people shot to death inside a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.
According to a news report from WOIO in Cleveland, Rob Cortis, rolled past the vigil playing music. He then made a second pass, playing “God Bless America.”
Cortis told Cleveland 19 that he was leaving the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and “happened to drive by city hall” as the memorial was being held. Cleveland 19 also reported that speakers, including Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, “stayed on script and focused on the tragedy instead of the disruption.”
Here’s how the Trump Bridge appearance at the vigil was covered by a New Zealand news outlet.
The evening before and approximately 170 miles away from the Cleveland vigil, Cortis and the Trump Bridge made an appearance at a Steve Bannon- and Sheriff David Clarke-headlined gathering at Cobo Hall in Detroit, which attracted approximately 700 people, according to news reports including this one from Detroit Metro Times.
Cortis mounted a GoFundMe campaign in December 2018 to repair the blown engine of the “Trump Mobile,” which pulls the “Trump Unity Bridge.” As of March 16, 2019, Cortis had raised just $317 of his $20,000 goal.
Cortis made plenty of headlines as the owner of the Barnstormer throughout the 1990s and 2000s. In addition to all the attractions he brought to the complex, he found himself entangled in a legal battle with Green Oak Township. The Barnstormer was shuttered by the township in 2012 after officials ruled it was unsafe. Cortis has been embroiled in a legal battle ever since, which has also included a fight over tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid property taxes.