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Locals Toy With Theories About Lego Man's Origins

A Chalk Festival artist denied responsibility for the 8-foot-tall Lego creation found on Siesta Key, while the Sheriff's Office search for a permanent public home for "Mr. Leonard."

The Lego man mystery remained unsolved Thursday, though a few clues started to surface.

On Tuesday a giant . Many questions have been asked about its origin, purpose and creator.

But there are few definitive answers.

A local arts website, Sarasota Visual Art, said it linked the Lego man with Chalk Festival artist Leon Keer.

"After a bit of digging in the sand, Sarasota Visual Art suggests that the work of Ego Leonard was created by Dutch guerrilla artist, and 2011 Sarasota Chalk Festival featured artist, Leon Keer."

On Wednesday, Keer emailed Patch to say he has nothing to do the Lego man. He said, however, that he is friends with its creator, Ego Leonard.

Ego Leonard is the name that is on the back of the Lego man’s shirt. On the front it says "No Real Than You Are".

"For years I have been close friends with Ego," said Keer in the email to Patch. "Together we made some amazing journeys. He asked me to make his website, as I did."

Keer said Leonard, "just wants to bring some kindness in the everyday life."

Keer emailed similar responses to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Chalk Festival organizer Denise Kowal also denies any connection to the Lego man.

"I have had several people call me asking the same thing and Leon is not Ego Leonard," Kowal said. "But because they are friends, people are speculating."

The rendering for Keer's Chalk Festival 3-D project, however, is of Lego figures.

The Chalk Festival website said of Keer:

"Leon Keer is always fascinated about what history reveals. He tries to connect the historical events with current issues in this society. For the upcoming Sarasota Chalk Festival he has been inspired by the discovery of the Terracotta Army of China and Ego Leonard who washed ashore in Sarasota yesterday morning."

The posting about Keer, who also participated in last year's Chalk Festival, was posted on Oct. 26.

Lego Man's Future

Since Tuesday the Fiberglass Lego man has been in protective custody with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

Originally Sheriff Tom Knight said the Lego man would remain in the Sheriff’s Office custody for 90 days unless its owner came forward. If no one claimed the 100-pound Lego man, it could go to the person who found it, Jeff Hindman.

Now, after an array of public input, the Sheriff’s Office is considering letting the Lego man go free so the public can enjoy it.

“We are working with the SCVB (Sarasota County Convention and Visitors Bureau) to see if we can locate a permanent home for him,” said Sheriff’s Office multimedia coordinator Sarah Kenniff.

To make that happen, Kenniff said the Sheriff’s Office has to work out legal issues to see if it can give the "found property" away. The agency hopes to have it resolved soon.

“We are trying to locate somewhere that would provide the security that it needs but to still make him visible to the public,” Kenniff said.

Until the legal questions have been worked out, it will remain in control of the Lego man.

“We are going to continue to retain custody, which is what we are obligated to do under Florida statute,” Kenniff said. “If somebody comes forward and claims ownership of the statue then he could do that. To my knowledge, [however], that has not happened.”

After multiple attempts, Patch has been unable to contact Ego Leonard.

Representatives of the Legoland Florida theme park, which opened earlier this month in Winter Haven, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that the giant Lego man doesn't belong to them:

"A spokeswoman for Legoland said the Lego man is a counterfeit and is not endorsed by Legoland or its parent company, Merlin Entertainments Group."

Tony Collings October 28, 2011 at 12:30 PM
Free him
Francine DiFilippo October 28, 2011 at 01:47 PM
more solid than a Tube man!

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